Reviews - school essentials (page 2)

There is a vast range of school equipment on the market today. We have reviewed some of the best products around to give you help in selecting the most suitable for your child. We have included some other products here that are not strictly for school, but that will be useful in daily life. The selection also includes some weekly/monthly magazines.

Reviews - school essentials (page 1)

Stuck on You - Personalised Name Labels & Products

We were very kindly sent a fantastic selection of products from Stuck on You to try out. The Stuck on You range includes clothing labels, bag tags, shoe labels, backpacks, height charts, lunchboxes...and so much more!

Large Bento Box:

As soon as you pick this up you can feel the quality of the product; it is beautifully personalised on the outside with an image of choice, the name you require and the font that you have chosen. Open the Bento Box with the two hinged clips and you reveal the excellent design inside - a clear inner tray with 6 compartments which are labelled underneath with vegetable, dairy, fruit, protein, grain and the sixth is a round hole in the middle designed especially for dips! The silicone seal in the lid is shaped and designed to prevent leakage between the compartments and although it has a very tight fit, it can be removed so that it can be cleaned. The clear tray can also be removed for cleaning and all three parts are safe for the top rack of the dishwasher.

This is such a fabulous lunchbox for many reasons; not only does it look fun but it is perfect for fussy eaters as they will love looking at the choice of food in the separate parts. It is also great for encouraging healthy eating as you can use the suggestions on the bottom of the tray for what to put in it. You won't get stuck for inspiration either as the box comes with a free e-book that you can download through a QR code inside the box. The personalised Bento Box retails at £29.99 and you can buy spare trays directly through the Stuck on You website along with a range of lunchbox notes that you can leave your little one to find, which is such a sweet idea.

Bento Cooler Bag:

What better to put your awesome Bento Box in than a super cool Bento Cooler Bag? This bag has been personalised with the image, name and font of our choice and the quality is again, outstanding. The bag is insulated and thermal lined and the Bento Box fits perfectly inside. There is a zip pocket inside which you can put an ice pack in if you wish, this is cleverly designed to make sure that nothing else inside your bag gets wet and very handy for hot summer days. Inside there is an additional elasticated net pocket and on the outside you will find a zip opening and a carry handle. The Bento Cooler Bag is £ 26.99 and available in a range of colours, choice of images and fonts.


Name Labels:

We received a set of Classic Mixed labels and a set of Classic Medium labels. The Classic label set are all stick on style name labels suitable for items such as books, pencils, bottles etc. In the mixed pack are 27 labels of varying sizes:
  • 2 Medium Name Labels (50mm X 20mm)
  • 8 Small Name Labels (45mm X 10mm)
  • 10 Mini Name Labels (46.6mm X 6.6mm)
  • 3 Square Name Labels (24mm X 24mm)
  • 4 Round Name Labels (24mm)
The labels are extremely durable with a scratch resistant coating, they are waterproof, microwave, dishwasher and freezer safe. They can be personalised with your name and there is a choice of 62 icons, 12 fonts and 13 colour sets to choose from as well as two different laminates. Prices start at £7.99 for a set of 27 labels, a great price as they should last you a really long time! The Classic Medium label set are iron-on labels and come as a pack of 26. These labels are designed for clothing and measure 50mm x 20mm, they are washing machine and dryer safe so they are great for frequently washed items such as uniforms and sports kits. They are super easy to use and you simply place the label on the item of clothing and use the included parchment paper to iron over the top of them for around 10 seconds. These are available in the same choice of styles as the stick on labels above and one set costs £8.99.

Clothing Name Stamp Pack:

Now I get really excited about beautifully presented items, whatever they are and this name stamp set is lovely. The felt pouch has your chosen name on the front and popper fastenings; in this you keep your stamp which can be personalised with your name and graphic, your stamp pad which comes as standard with black ink and your blank iron on clothing labels. You can personalise your stamp with two lines of text, in the font of your choice and one of the 16 icons they offer. The set comes with 12 blank labels which need to be ironed on before stamping, and this is done in the same way as the name labels above. The ink is non-toxic, dries quickly and once stamped, the whole label is washing machine and dryer safe. This set is £23.99 and comes with a stamp pad that measures 9.5cm x 7cm.

This is just a tiny selection of the labels and personalised items that Stuck On You have to offer so do check out their website to see their full range which includes their designer labels, allergy labels, labels for bags and household label packs to name just a few. We were blown away with the quality of all the labels and items that we were sent, highly recommended!          

Back to School with Helix Maped

We were kindly sent an exciting parcel of back to school goodies courtesy of Maped Helix which was full of essentials for the school year ahead.

First up was the Oxford Fountain Pen; a really smart looking pen which has a balanced barrel and a flexible iridium nib which gives you better control when writing. I love writing with a fountain pen and they will last years if well looked after. Included in the pack are 5 blue ink cartridges to get you started and although our pen was sent in a cardboard and plastic packet, it now seems that the pens now have new plastic-free packaging which is great news!


Maped Easy 360 Compass - Especially designed for younger users or those using a compass for the first time, the Maped Easy 360 Compass has a special 'agility system' which is a flexible top that allows it to be easily gripped so that you can move the compass around smoothly so it is great for beginners. Available in different colours and on the back of the packet is a QR code that can be scanned so you can watch a video to show you how to use it.



Maped Roller Highlighter - Something a bit different that I haven't come across before is this highlighter which is in the form of roller, rather than a fibre tip. It uses stamp technology and it creates an attractive solid coloured line with small dots either side. It can be used on all types of pen and the benefit of this style is that the tip doesn't smudge the ink on the paper and transfer to the tip - there is nothing worse than opening a brand new highlighter and then ruining it straight away by going over some dark ink which transfers to the nib! The roller highlighter does not dry out if you leave the cap off and it comes in a range of colours.




Limited Edition Filled Pencil Case Pink & Blue - Simple but handy pencil cases which are pre-filled with a selection of useful bits and pieces. Inside you get: a rubber, pencil sharpener, black ballpoint pen, blue ballpoint pen, two pencils, 15cm ruler, 45 and 60 degree set squares and a 180 degree protractor. The pencil cases both contain items in coordinating colours and they have plenty of room inside so that you can add to them what you like. These pencil cases are a great idea for secondary school starters as they give you the basic items you will need all in one place.

Maped Picnik Concept Blue Lunch Box and Water Bottle - Start the school term off with a new lunch box and bottle set; the Maped Picnik lunch box has an easy to open and close propeller grip which can be removed for cleaning. Inside the lunchbox are one small and one large compartment and a removable leak proof tray with a lid. The tray cleverly sits on top of one of the compartments so as not to squash whatever you have placed there. The lunchbox is freezer safe, microwave safe if you prefer a warm lunch and it can be placed on the top rack of the dishwasher. To accompany the lunch box is a matching 430ml water bottle. It has a lift up carry handle and a smart one-touch spring loaded lid. It is spill and leak proof as it automatically seals when you stop drinking. It is easy to clean with its wide neck and can also be put on the top rack of the dishwasher.

Storytime Magazine

Storytime magazine helps to improve literacy in children as well as promoting a love of reading for pleasure. Each issue is packed with stories, there are no adverts and there are absolutely no plastic toys! Each issue has a variety of different types of stories such as myths and fables, poetry, fairytales, stories from around the world and from different cultures along with wonderful illustrations, puzzles and activities. Reading is so important for children and they will be far more eager to read when they have something they love reading, or love sharing with you.

A first glance at Storytime magazine your child will be drawn to the amazing illustrations on the cover, and they carry on throughout the magazine. A contents list on the second page tells you what you can look forward to over the next 50 pages. After each story there is a box with an activity or questions which will help your child with comprehension skills and they really help to engage your child with the story they have just read or listened to. An example of this is after the fable of The King of Frogs- you are asked 'in this fable, the frogs learn a lesson about being grateful for what they have. Can you think of three things you're grateful for? It could be pets, people, places, hobbies or things you own'. Another example can be found in a different issue after a favourite fairy tale, The Pied Piper of Hamelin, where you child is encouraged to learn the verse from Robert Browning's 'Pied Piper' poem off by heart.

Puzzles and activities feature in each magazine as well as 'books of the month' and a sneak peek at next month's issue. The magazine is definitely one to keep so that you can revisit it; children will find the short stories easy to keep interest with and they make lovely bedtime stories to read along with your child. We love the educational aspect to the magazine as curriculum goals include developing reading for pleasure and children learning to understand and process what they read, or what is being read to them. Fairy tales, fables and traditional stories are also an effective tool in teaching morals, or an ethical or common sense message.

Storytime magazine is available on an annual subscription for £39.99 for 12 issues which includes free delivery, which we think is great value. For more subscription options, back issues or for more information, visit the Storytime website.

Anorak Magazine & Dot Magazine

Anorak Magazine describes itself as the 'happy mag for kids' and it is aimed at children of between 6-12 years old. The first thing I noticed when I picked the magazine up was the lovely thick pages and the quality of the paper, which according to Anorak's website is made from 'REAL (recycled) paper and REAL (vegetable) inks', which is great news!

The pages are all illustrated with bright colours and each page is bursting with things to learn, make, read and do. Each issue has a theme and every couple of pages covers something different; in the issues we reviewed (46 and 48) there are jokes, comic strips, stories, history of different festivals around the world, a recipe, what common expressions and phrases mean and so much more! 'Anorak's main philosophy is to encourage children to tap into their imagination, use their creativity to learn and is here to amplify their voices. It has at the core of its offering a passion for words and images that challenge and stimulate.'

Anorak magazine is published every quarter; there is loads packed in to each issue and your child will certainly keep coming back to it over and over, the magazine can be kept for reading again or kept for passing down to siblings as it is aimed at both boys and girls. Anorak can be bought as single issues (£6.50), for 1 year (£25) or 2 year (£45) subscriptions - find out more on their website.

DOT Magazine

Dot Magazine is brought to us by the same people as Anorak Magazine and is aimed at pre-schoolers. Again, you are greeted with thick, high quality pages which are full of wonderful colours and illustrations which will immediately capture the attention of your little one. Dot is crammed with fun activities such as games, colouring, stories, things to make and it is educational too!

Like Anorak, each issue of Dot follows a theme and there is plenty do so your child will keep coming back to it. These magazines are great for so many situations such as taking out to keep your child entertained over a meal, on long journeys, or just simply chilling out at home.

This magazine is also published on a quarterly basis and you can buy single issues (£5.50), 1 year (£20) or 2 year (£40) subscriptions. Visit the Anorak and Dot website here for more information.    

Rex London

Stand out from the run-of-the-mill with Rex London's fabulous range of products. "Welcome to Rex London, a quirky, unique treasure trove of gifts and homeware. Bringing you bright, colourful gifts and retro home decor, you’ll find something for everyone - all at incredible prices." WE've reviewed a selection from the children's ranges. I was amazed by the fabulous range of backpacks - there really is something special for every child. We received a lovely Panda backpack. They are ideal for  school, holidays or family days out, and the mini size is ideal for young children, who can sometimes seem overwhelmed by bigger backpacks - the measurements are Width: 21cm, Height: 28cm, Depth: 10cm. The backpack has a sturdy carrying handle on top and adjustable padded shoulder straps which help to balance the weight evenly and effectively, important to ensure children's physical health. Our young tester found the backpack really comfortable and it stayed firmly in place even when he was running around. The padded back offers an extra level of comfort. There's a zipped main compartment plus a small front pocket for easy access for frequently used items - the zips have tabs for easy opening. It's really well made, well sewn so its durable and made of high quality ptasticised material. The backpack easily wipes clean with a damp cloth.  A high quality product.

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There's a whole range of accessories available in matching patterns - this is really helpful for young children, so they can readily identify their own set of belongings - and matching sets look great too!  Perfectly accompanying the backpack is the small Miko the Panda water bottle which, with its neat stretchy plastic carry strap which is easy to keep clean, is perfect for that all-important hydration om-the-go. Volume is 340ml and the bottle is dishwasher safe (top shelf). The screw top really is leakproof and easy for little hands to open. The adorable designs in the range include Rusty the Fox, Magical Unicorn, Prehistoric Land and many more, with something to appeal to every child.  
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Our final item was the unusually shaped Blue whale wooden ruler. Far from the standard boring ruler, this bright and sturdy wooden ruler is shaped like a blue whale. It may seem gimicky but actually, it's ideal for young children as it's so much easier for them to grasp and use than the conventional straight ruler - and it makes learning fun! The packaging includes some fun blue whale facts and this is a practical product that makes a fun gigt to brighten up the pencil case. The ruler total length is 22cm and the ruler measurements are 0-15cm. I encourage you to have a browse around the website - there are some really lovely ideas on there, for children and for adults - many quirky and unusual things that you won't find elsewhere. Visit Rex London.

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