I thought I was being so organised at the beginning of the summer by getting all the girls’ uniforms sorted for the new school year. I got their skirts, dresses, blouses and cardigans but I knew it was probably best to wait until the end of the summer to get their shoes. There’s always a risk in doing this of course, because there’s a chance the shops will have run out of the size you need but then if you get the shoes too early, you could find that their feet have grown over the summer. Anyway, organised or not the shoes were left to the last minute and I was starting to panic.

I’ve mentioned before that Marks and Spencer is my one-stop school shop (well, apart from the logo embroidery shop that we have to use) and that I’ve always gone to M&S for Lili’s school shoes. I find their quality brilliant and the price reasonable compared to other high street shops.

So as it turns out, I didn’t need to panic because as soon as we stepped into M&S I realised that they were totally geared up for the ‘last minute mum’ and the rails were fully stocked with shoes of all styles and sizes. I already knew that they’d raised their game this year with a personalised measuring and fitting service (at selected stores only). As you can see, we took them up on this service (and no, you don’t have to book in for this, like some shops), it was great to know that I was getting the right size and fit for the girls.

This year Marks and Spencer have also increased their size and fitting options with half sizes, as well as wide, regular and narrow fit. All this means that you can feel assured that your child will have a perfectly fitting shoe.

As it turns out Lili’s feet are a narrow 13 and a half, so these new options really did help her find the perfect size, while Poppy is a regular size 11. They both chose their favourite style from a wide selection of velcro fastening, black leather school shoes, so now we are ready for school.

While we were there we also got Iris’ feet measured and fitted for her first pair of ‘big girl’ walking shoes. She did so well, I think she was excited to be following in her big sisters’ foot steps (literally), which made her feel very happy.

If you can’t get to a store, the M&S website have a great measuring print-out you can use to measure your child’s feet at home and then place an order online. However, if you can get to a store offering the serve I really do recommend it.

So that’s it, the summer is over and it’s time for the new school year to begin. Autumn is very much in the air and the leaves are starting to fall. The school bag is packed and Lili’s looking forward to seeing her friends on Wednesday. Poppy will have to wait another few days before she starts her school adventure next Monday.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

 

 

I get so excited about the long summer holidays, in my mind they still (as they used to when I was a child) go on and on but in reality they fly by!! We’ve had the most wonderful summer with two weeks in Wales, followed by two weeks in Spain but we’re now home and with only a week and a half to go before school stats, I’m so glad I sorted out the girls’ school uniform before we went away.

School uniform essentials from Marks & Spencer

It’s a big year in our house, as Poppy starts Reception and Lili goes into the ‘Juniors’ this September. They both say that they’re excited and scared in equal measure but I know they’ll both bounce in on that first day with enthusiasm and ready to get going. They both love school (or nursery in Poppy’s case) and have missed their friends over the summer break.

School uniform essentials from Marks & Spencer

Both girls needed new uniforms, Poppy will need the school’s Infant uniform which consists of; a white shirt, a navy pinafore dress and a navy cardigan, as well as shoes and a PE kit. She won’t need a backpack or any stationary as the Infants are given a school ‘book bag’ and are not allowed to take their own pens or pencils.

School uniform essentials from Marks & Spencer

Lili’s going into the ‘Juniors’, which means she’ll need a new uniform too. It’s similar to the Infants uniform but with a pleated navy skirt instead of a pinafore dress. Excitingly, she will now need a backpack and her own stationary. Yes, we can finally go stationary shopping!! I don’t know who’s more excited, me or her.

School uniform essentials from Marks & Spencer

My go-to, one-stop shop for all things ‘school uniform’ has always been Marks & Spencer. It’s also where my mum got all our school uniform essentials when my brother and I were younger. For me Marks & Spencer’s quality is tried and tested, I know the clothes will wash well and last the year. Their school clothes all have clever little innovations like; stay put hems, stain and weather-proof finishes and StayNew technology. I’m also a big fan of their crease resistant finishes, which means less time at the ironing board for me! Lastly, I know that I can throw everything into the tumble dryer and they’ll all come out looking like new.

School uniform essentials from Marks & Spencer

This year Marks & Spencer have made more improvements to their Back To School range with; soft elastic waistbands on all trousers and skirts and hidden labels in their shirts and polo shirts for extra comfort.

I’ve always got Lili’s school shoes from Marks & Spencer, literally every pair she’s had have been from M&S. I like the quality, and feel they offer really good value for money. This year they’ve launched a brand new measuring and fitting service in store (selected bigger stores only), along with a wider range of widths and half-sizes, which now makes them a real player in the school shoes arena. They also have a clever little measuring chart that you can print off online, if you can’t make it into a store.

School uniform essentials from Marks & Spencer

As for backpacks Lili was delighted with this metallic number that’s both ‘cool and fashionable’ (her words) and big enough to carry all her new stationary and books.

School uniform essentials from Marks & Spencer

Thanks to Marks & Spencer we are totally ready for the new school year and have everything from; uniforms, PE kits, shoes, bags, socks and underwear. My list has all been completely ticked off!

School uniform essentials from Marks & Spencer

I wonder how I’ll feel this year as I send not one but two of my girls off to school? I wasn’t prepared for how emotional I was when Lili started Reception, it completely took me by surprise. Poppy is a different character though and I know she’s more than ready for full time school – plus I know that she’s got her big sister there to keep an eye on her.

Who am I kidding? I’ll be in bits, I know it!!

School uniform essentials from Marks & Spencer

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all copy is true.

He’s everyone’s favourite sweet treat and this week Percy Pig celebrated his 25th Birthday. I can’t quite believe he’s been around for twenty five years but it’s true! The deliciously, juicy little pig has been delighting kids and adults alike for a quarter of a century. A milestone that deserved a big party!

Now I’ve been blogging for over three years and in that time I’ve had some amazing opportunities and been lucky enough to be invited to some pretty awesome events but I must admit when I received this invite by Marks and Spencer I was super excited – and as you can imagine my two big girls were very jealous.

I’m not able to go to many events on a school night as we don’t have any backup childcare, so I really have to pick and choose my events carefully but I knew this was one not to miss.

It was a beautiful and fun night, that had a big emphasis on gorgeous food and wine from the past 25 years – with no pork in sight!

Here are some pictures from the event to give you a flavour of the evening…

This last snap was saved from my Insta Stories so please forgive the low quality.

On the night we were served ‘Percy on the Beach’ cocktails, made from Percy infused vodka. Here’s how you can recreate this deliciously fruity and refreshing cocktail at home…

Thank you so much Percy and Marks and Spencer for a gorgeous evening full of fun, flowers, food and lots of yummy sweets!

I feel like I’ve been watching ‘In The Night Garden’ for the last six years. First with Lili, then Poppy and now Iris is getting into the colourful world of Upsy Daisy, Igglepiggle and the rest of the gang. It’s been their stepping stone into the wonderful word of learning through television. I can’t say I completely understand every episode or every character but the girls have all been captivated by the vivid colours and lively music.

Last week we were invited to the RHS Gardens at Wisley to celebrate the 10th birthday of ‘In The Night Garden’. I accepted the invitation for two reasons, firstly I knew it would be exciting for Iris who is only starting her journey into the night garden. Secondly, Wisley is a place I’ve wanted to visit for years. It’s a special place for my husband, who used to visit regularly as a boy with his mother. Over the years (we’ve been together almost 18 years) I’ve heard so many stories about the gardens and how she loved walking around the beautiful areas and enjoyed the cakes at the cafe. Sadly, she passed away over ten years ago, so as you can imagine it really is a special place for him.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the gardens but I can tell you that my expectations were high. Very high!

We started our day at the In The Night Garden party, where the big girls met the characters and got their face pained. They also got to decorate plant pots and listen to some stories, then it was time to explore the grounds. I have no words to describe the beauty of Wisley. It has so many different aspects, one minute we were walking around a rose garden, then a meadow, then a rock garden, then an oriental gazebo, then a tropical greenhouse, the list of different areas goes on and on. We followed the Night Garden trail to find the characters who were dotted around the grounds. The girls loved running around hunting out their favourite characters.

You can join Igglepiggle and friends on your own magical adventure trail at any of the four RHS Gardens in the UK. Simply pick up a free trail at the garden entrance or download the Gamar app before you arrive to bring the In The Night Garden friends to life.  The trail is an imaginative play trail, ideal for children aged 1 to 5 years old and is available until the end of June 2017.

We recently dipped our toe into the festival scene for the first time. Before having children my husband and I used to love going to music concerts but we never made it to a festival – and since having children, I thought that they were just something I’d never get round to experiencing. Leaving me wondering, ‘did I miss out?’ There’s always been that small regret that I should have ‘done’ Glastonbury or maybe V Festival in my younger years. Although, I’ve never really been keen on camping, which probably explains why I never went to a festival.

However, with the recent rise of family friendly festivals, maybe we can still experience a festival with the kids in tow? Over the last bank holiday weekend we attended Elderflower Fields Family Festival in East Sussex. We don’t own camping equipment and if I’m honest I’m still not sold on the idea of camping (especially with three kids), so we decided to go for the day, giving us the opportunity to experience a festival without the challenges and cost of camping.

Elderflower Fields Family Festival is a three-day festival designed for families with young children. It’s a wild weekend of adventure, music, sports, nature and crafts – set in the heart of Sussex.

This small, perfectly formed festival was established in 2012. The organisers initially wanted to create a party for a few hundred friends and family but their plans snowballed and before they knew it, they’d sold over a thousand tickets. I love the thought of a party getting so out of hand that it ended up creating a new family business.

In 2014 Elderflower Fields moved to a bigger venue, Pippingford Park, where the festival now returns each year. It’s a beautiful, wild, hilly spot that’s perfect for the magical, fairyland feels of Elderflower Fields.

The organisers say that they intentionally keep Elderflower Fields small…

“…it’s part of what makes Elderflower Fields such a safe and special weekend for families. But we also try to increase the quantity and quality of the activities and performances every year, so that there’s always something new and exciting for our guests.”

So what did we think of our first venture into a family festival?

When I think back over our day at Elderflower Fields, three things come to mind. Firstly, it was absolutely magical. The whole site was decorated beautifully, with rustic charm and gorgeous detail. There was colour everywhere you looked, trees were decorated with large ornaments and lights, there were colourful buntings everywhere and everything had a shabby homemade vibe, which I loved. The festival also had a fairyland vibe with fairy tours and storytelling adding to the magical feel of the place.

The second thing that comes to mind is the food! The quality and the choice of food available was just astonishing – it almost felt like a mini food festival, with all the different independent food vendors. We wanted to try everything on offer but ended up opting for wood fire pizzas, homemade ice creams and sorbets (I had the strawberry and champagne sorbet, which was out of this world), and as we were leaving we picked up some chocolate covered waffles on a stick.

The third and last thing that I’d say about Elderflower Fields is how it’s perfectly catered for children. All the activities were fun, well considered and ideal to get kids involved. The variety of activities on offer was brilliant; we made giant bubbles, created science experiments, found fairy doors, listen to stories, danced to music, played in hammocks, rode down hill on skateboards and even made mud pies in the play kitchen. It really was a fun filled day that we’ll remember forever.

The festival also had three main stages dotted around the site for music and storytelling performances. The schedule was full and varied, ensuring that there was always something to see, do or listen to.

We enjoyed our day so much we’re already thinking about going back next year, who knows we may even camp!