Today I have eaten half an entire cake to myself, put away all the washing and vacuumed twice. Today my daughter started juniors at a new school after 6 months of home-ed.

She was so excited, and counting down the days until school started. I was counting backward to see what we could fit into our last days of summer together. She couldn’t wait to wear her new uniform while I complained about the uniformity of uniform, and the polyester content. She was excited to meet her new teacher while I pondered if she might know about learning rather than just teaching. She was excited to meet new friends while I questioned if she would feel able to be herself in a peer group. Urgh I could go on and on but basically, she was excited, me…not so much.

So here is my cathartic list post of things we are saying goodbye to now home-ed is no more for Beg.

  1. Home-Ed meets and Facebook groups. The first groups I’ve ever joined where I felt I fully fit in (because literally everyone fits in).
  2. Feelings of freedom. Hello school rat race.view from big pit south wales
  3. Empty parks, empty national trust properties, empty castles and beaches. Goodbye elderly crowd we could bump around with in these places. Eating sandwiches on benches and going slow together.
  4. Sleeping when we want even though she generally kept to the same bedtimes as that suited her now we have to wake up when the government tells us to (allow me some slight mellow drama here please I’m having a cathartic moment).
  5. Bumping into other home ed families we don’t know and saying hi because you’re the only two families at the museum in the middle of the day.
  6. The possibility of holidays outside of term time.
  7. 6 hours of her day missing all the parts where she comes up with an amazing idea or a really interesting philosophical question. When her eyes light up and she says “Hey Mum, do all animals have tails?” And we spend the next week naming animals and discussing their tails.
  8. Home ed discounts. Thanks Cadw it was fun.Caerphilly Castle
  9. Wearing whatever she wants.
  10. Goodbye no pressure to learn (or rote repeat) things she has to know so they can measure her teacher’s performance. Goodbye no pressure overall.mum and daughter wearing a tutu

There are 10 things, I’m sure I will think of many more but I’m off for a good cry now! Bye bye home ed. It’s been real.

Are there any other things you would miss about home ed that aren’t on this list? Are you wondering why then we decided to go back to school? So am I! No I’m not, just kidding, there will be another post about it up soon. Comment below and let me know what you love most about home-ed.

 

If you’re a bit of a stationery fiend like me who can spend happy hours online poring over pretty flamingo print notebooks and such like then you probably enjoy the stationery part of back to school shopping too.

Needless to say I was very excited to be invited to Smiggle (where a smile meets a giggle) to try their products and see their back to school range for 2016 called ‘sidekicks’.  I’m happy to report that school stationery has moved on from maths ruler sets and mustard coloured rule lined books. 20160825_083700

Filled with bright neon colour, the store is instantly recognisable. The shelves are filled with loads of  fun things that kids will love like lunch packs and fold-down drinks bottles, key rings, glitter pens, lip balm, and fluffy pencil cases and backpacks. Scented pencils and rubbers add to the cool factor with scents like candy floss. Cola was my personal favourite.

At the back of the shop there is a trying station set up where you can try out some of the pens and pencils to see which ones you like (perfect for finding that perfect ‘write’ of a pen) and the staff demonstrated one of the creepy crawly starfish toys that ‘climbed’ down the wall and lit up too. I felt welcome to pick up all the stuff and didn’t feel like I had to keep telling Beg not to touch everything because the store is set up for kids to be able to have a good look.  At the front of the shop there is a post box to post your entry into the design your own backpack competition. If your entry is chosen as the winner Smiggle will make your back pack for you-how exciting is that?

I really loved all the products, everything had a good quality feel to it and there were lots of things within pocket money budget (lots under £3).

I had an exclusive preview of the Spikeys 2 range. These are collectable ‘Smiggurines’ there are 12 to collect. They are £7. each and all come in the same packaging so you don’t know which one you are getting. I love that element of excitement and I think kids will too. If you ever have doubles you can take your Spikey to any Smiggle shop and trade with any of the 3 on the trade table. There is also a mega mystery one even the staff don’t know what character it is. So lucky you if you find that one! I had a goodie bag given to me with freebies in and I had the ‘Kong’ Spikey.

Smiggle do a different back to school range each year, and you just know it’ll be the one all the kids will be talking about. For 2016 it’s the ‘sidekicks’ range. Five cute characters -a penguin, puppy, cat, dog and dinosaur, and each has lunch packs, drinks bottles, pencil cases and more.

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I was fortunate enough to win a £200. gift card.20160825_100107 I was so excited and me and Beg had a massive shopping spree which was so, so fun. I’ve never done anything like that before so I was really made up. So we got a fair few bits and pieces (there is some left on the gift card honestly!) and since getting them all home I’m really impressed with the quality of them.

 

My favourite thing we got was this trolley case. The hot air balloon design is so pretty and it will fit all Beg’s things in for future holidays. It can be worn as a back pack-which is great for getting around airports- but also has an extendable handle and wheels that light up when they move. It’s so cool! It’s priced at £42.

Beg’s favourite thing was the spy pen (£4.00). Normal biro one end, but the other end is a white marker that doesn’t show up until you shine the UV light onto the page. She has been writing secret messages all weekend!

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Smiggle has really impressed me and it’s really geared up to what kids will love. Loads of products to choose from and really funky and bright designs.

Check out my first you tube video of me ‘unboxing’ the freebie goodie bag here.

*Disclaimer: I received free products for this review, though all views are honest, and my own. *

Check out Smiggle for yourself!