Wednesday, 26 August 2015

The Night Before The Day

It's the eve of my little girls' first day of school. I should be in bed already but I know that if I was I probably wouldn't sleep. I should go to bed, though, because in the morning I have to get up early and get dressed and fed. And dress and feed other people. And, most importantly, get out the door on time. Because, for the first time in months, we have somewhere to be
All summer we have lounged around in the mornings. Stayed in pyjamas until whenever. Eaten breakfast in the garden and second breakfast on the sofa. We've had lazy picnics and played with friends and stayed at home when the rain came. Which it did. Quite often.

Over the past few days I've noticed the days shorten. I've been surprised, in the evening, when I've looked out the window at the darkness where, only a few weeks ago, there would have been light. I've noticed that the leaves are beginning to turn too. Green fading to gold. New suddenly old. The mist on the hills spells out Autumn-time...

or maybe

School-time.
L-R: Sábha, Lile at three-weeks-old.
I can't get an image of them as tiny newborns out of my head. They were sleeping side by side as I filled out the school application forms five and a half years ago. Their frail little bodies huddled together under a pile of blankets despite the spring warmth. I sat with the paperwork and felt ridiculous that I was even doing it. It seemed laughable that these tiny little babies would ever be going to school. It was 2010 and I was happy if I could get through one day at a time caring for my babies. 2015 was impossibly far away. Impossible to even imagine.

Except that now 2015 is here. And it arrived in the blink of an eye.

Every time I looked at my little ones today, butterflies danced in my stomach. Every time I picture them walking through the school gates tomorrow morning, in their shiny new shoes and pristine uniforms I feel hot tears pricking the back of my eyes. 

Part of me is afraid that once they've walked through those gates, I'll blink again, and in another instant they'll be grown and full of knowing things that I haven't taught them and full of teenage mystery and full of other things that, right now, are impossible to even imagine. 

But... that will be 2023. Which, tonight, seems like a ridiculous number... laughable that it will ever exist.
The inspiration for these can be found HERE
So for now, the night before the day that big school begins, I'll tuck the little love hearts I've made to comfort them into their cardigan pockets. I'll also tuck a wad of tissues into my own pockets and tomorrow morning... 

I'll kiss them and wave them off and try my hardest not to blink...

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Zazzle Lunch Boxes Are Cool For School

Who replaced my babies with these teenagers?!
Lile and Sábha are entering the world of 'big school' before the end of the month. There is much excitement, a bit of apprehension and a lot of preparation involved. The uniforms have been bought, and hung carefully in the wardrobe. Not only is it strange to see them looking so grown up and proper schoolgirl-ish, it's also weird to see them in such sensible clothes. They usually choose to wear a colourful mish-mash of... well... everything... and don't often dress in matching outfits either. Seeing them so 'de-personalised' is a very new experience for us all.
The first day of preschool, last year. Quite a contrast in attire...
Having to wear a uniform doesn't mean there is no scope at all to show your personality in school, however. The easiest way to show your kids' personal style is probably with a cool choice of schoolbag or pencil case - but, as my girls don't even need those things until October (they like to ease the newbies in gently at their school) we've got to show our style with the only thing they'll need from day one - lunchboxes.

Lile and Sábha had been eyeing up several 'character' lunchboxes over the past while - but weren't really taken with any of them. I was quite happy about this, because I think character-branded products date very quickly. The characters they like now will likely be out of favour by the end of the school year - if not the first week of school! - so I was hoping to find something more timeless.
When Zazzle offered us an opportunity to review their Yubo custom-printed lunchboxes I jumped at the chance to get something both practical and fun for my girls - but - when I sat down to try and actually do the choosing, I found I couldn't decide at all! There is A LOT of choice on the Zazzle site and it can be a bit overwhelming if you don't have a definite starting point.

In the end, I knew I'd have to leave it to the experts - Lile and Sábha - to decide for themselves what they wanted. To be honest, at first, I thought I might be making a big mistake letting them do that. It could potentially have taken all year for them to come to a decision - but it seems they're fairly good at knowing what they like. They even chose the font for their names!

Sábha chose a cute fox design (no surprise there) and customised the background of the image to be blue. She then spent a while deciding which colour looked best for the main body of the lunchbox and eventually settled on purple. After that, we added her name and she asked for that to be made purple too.

Lile chose an adorable vintage-style kitten design (no surprise there either) and wanted to match Sábha with the purple body and name so that they could be 'the same but different'.

They asked me every single day, for the week it took, if they had arrived yet and jumped for joy when they finally did.
I was just as excited to see them too and I have to say I am delighted with them. 

The lunchboxes include one large (sandwich) container, two small containers and a slim ice pack to keep food fresh until lunchtime. They are BPA-free, phthalate-free, lead-free and 100% recyclable. They are also dishwasher safe. The pictures or 'faceplates' are actually interchangeable and extras can be bought to change the whole look of your lunchbox whenever you like. You can even upload an image one of your children has drawn or a favourite photograph to make a completely unique lunchbox that will stand out from the crowd.
These lunchboxes are not particularly cheap (starting at £32.00 Sterling each) - but they are fantastic quality and will definitely last longer than the 'cheap and cheerful' lunchboxes we have spent a small fortune on over the past couple of years. I have easily spent that amount on a motley collection of lunchboxes that broke after a few months, so I'm delighted to have a quality product that I know will last years.

The girls were so excited when they arrived that, while I was still unpacking Lile's lunchbox, Sábha ran off to show her Daddy hers and demanded he make a video of her telling him all about it. It's a little rough (and a bit quiet) but I just had to share it anyway:
I actually think this is the highlight of starting big school for them!

If you are in the market for a lunchbox that's tough enough for your dishwasher and flexible enough to cater to your child's latest whim - you would do well to check these Yubo lunchboxes out on Zazzle.co.uk. And, if you're quick about it you can currently avail of some great savings on your order. Click on the image below for more information:

Diclosure: Zazzle provided me with two customised lunchboxes, free of charge, for the purposes of review. All opinions are my own and those of family and we were not paid to give them. thanks Zazzle!

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