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Wednesday 8 August 2012

Back to school with Clarks shoes

Yes I am one of those sad Mums, I might as well admit it. Even before the school holidays start I am already planning for September and getting things ready so when Clarks approached me and asked if I would like to review their back to school collection, I literally bit their arm off! I am not too sure where this desire to be super organised comes from, as a child I recall our holidays each year in August and buying all my back to school bits then so my Mum was always on top of things but never organised before the holidays even start!

I can honestly say that at least 90% of all the shoes my 3 children have worn over the last 8 years have been from Clarks.  It is a name I trust and buy again and again.  Yes it is true, they are not the cheapest shoes around but personally I would rather invest in good footwear whilst their little feet are growing and developing.  You can scrimp on a t-shirt but not on shoes, feet only develop once in a child’s life and you want them to do so just right.

So at the beginning of the holiday we headed off to our local Clarks store and luckily for me it is an outlet store, which means that I can get the peace of mind from buying a pair of well-crafted leather Clarks kids shoes and save some money at the same time – result!
Unlike a traditional Clarks shop the outlet is much larger and has all the shoes displayed for you to choose yourself, the displays are attractive and well stocked and personally I prefer to shop this way. Each outlet has a trained fitter too, so no need to worry that the service will be any different.  The lady that measured my kids shoes was very nice, she chatted to us and had a bit of a joke with the kids but was still dedicated to the job at hand and undertook a thorough 6 point check of each of the shoes that she sold us. I was interested that she chose to use the handheld measure for all my kids feet rather than the electronic measuring machine, she explained it was her personal preference and as she had been measuring kids feet for quite a few years she could get a better idea of fit by being really hands on.
JJ has just mastered laces at age 8 and luckily so, as he has large feet and needed a size 5.5G, we picked up his Bootleg shoes for just £27.99 instead of the £40.00 they were when new in stock last year.  I have no problem with my children wearing last years styles when they are all so adorable and on-trend anyway. 

Little Miss E is now a 11.5F and she was adamant that she wanted some pretty patent shoes but I put my foot down, school is about being practical after all. She is only 5 years old; there is loads of time for her to be making fashion statements. So practical Mary Jane's with a sturdy sole, pretty bow and velcro strap were just right and she felt like a princess and at £21.99 instead of the £32.00 they kept Mummy happy too.

Talking of fashion statements, Clarks is proud to ensure that their back to school range of shoes are fashionable for both boys and girls.  Study shoes do not have to mean missing out on the latest trends. How my little Miss M would love to wear these wedge heeled shoes to school but she is a little young yet and besides her Clarks shoes we bought in April are still perfect even after a daily beating from a 4 year old.
From £35.00
Then for a trendy lad how about these loafers, again with a sturdy sole which is good as in my experience all they seem to want to do at school is play football!

And here I'll make you laugh, when I was looking round the sale kids shoes at my local town Clarks the other day, I saw a large pair of girls school shoes - in my size!  And yes you guessed it, I bought myself a pair too!  So for £10 I have great leather shoes ready for the winter. Miss E and I can be twinnies now!

With over 500 stores in the UK there is bound to be a Clarks close to you and to save you time and hassle you can book an appointment prior to arriving, or if shopping is not your thing then follow the online measuring instructions and order some shoes online and pop into your local Clarks and have the fit checked if you are unsure.
I am a happy Clarks shopper and I will continue to be for some time yet.....
Disclosure:  I was sent a voucher for £40.00 to use at Clarks to review their school shoes.  I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.

Saturday 4 August 2012

Tatty Teddy & My Blue Nose Friends Collectables Review

Tatty Teddy has been around since I was a teenager.  I remember my Mum working in a card shop and all these gorgeous new cards and teddy bears arriving in her shop, in stark contrast to the Forever Friends bears that were popular at the time Tatty Teddy was (and still is) a grey bear with a blue nose.  The story goes that he got thrown out by accident and spent the winter under a mattress, then covered in snow he went grey and blue with the cold.  As Spring came one day a little girl found him and thought he was the cutest teddy ever and he became known as Tatty Teddy and has been loved ever since.

For quite some time now one of my twins Miss E has been captivated by Tatty Teddy, it is probably since she got a dressing gown with him on when she was 2 years old.  Now 3 years later she loves him and has teddies, a lunchbox, stationary, t-shirt and who knows what else, all with Tatty Teddy on them.

The most recent addition to her collection is some My Blue New Friends play characters and Tatty Teddy's Heart House from Worlds Apart.  This new range has just been launched at the end of July and I have already seen some of the range in my local The Entertainer store. To say that Miss E was a bit excited when she opened the large box that arrived is a bit of an understatement. We had arguments from the girls as to who would have each one of the characters but it made me smile that is was always taken as given that Miss E would have the only Tatty Teddy.

Here is Miss M trying to get into the Heart House box, whilst Miss E is sussing out the characters -

As it was the twins birthday just a couple of weeks ago I was a bit nervous about giving this toy to them as I wondered how much attention it would get but I can honestly say that this has been a firm favourite over the last couple of weeks and it even went on holiday with us, as Miss E would not leave home without it.

The house is a super toy, as it can be folded out to play with or the doors swing shut and it can be neatly put away with the furniture/ characters safely inside. This can be a bit tough for a just 5 year old to do though, look at that face. A quick mummy adjustment and it all fits in nicely.

The Heart House retails for £39.99 and comes with the Tatty Teddy Figure, furniture for each room and if you insert 2 AA batteries you can turn the living room fireplace on to glow too. It is sturdy and well made and I believe will last a good amount of time. You can also put 3 shelves on the back so you can store all your characters but to be honest Miss E seems to just pull these off.  Whilst my girls and I do like this house it does feel quite expensive.

Single characters can be purchased for £2.99, a 2 pack is £5.99, a 4 pack is £9.99 and there are also figure with accessory packs (we received a cute penguin with a bath) for £7.99.

The characters are very cute at about 6cm in size, each one is uniquely styled and they have their own personality. Miss M's favourite is Digger the dependable Scottie Dog with a nose for adventure. Friendship is at the heart of this range (what better for twins?) and the 2 packs include a free secret gift of a pretty friendship bracelet, which can be kept or given away. There are 22 characters in all to try and collect. Here is justva few of them -

I do not have any grumbles about these toys, the only thing I would say is that they can get grubby pretty quickly, due to the beautiful soft covering. It does not stop them being super to play with, just perhaps something to be aware of. See here -

If you have a child who loves Tatty Teddy then they will adore this new collection, it is set of be the next big thing for young girls and is aimed at about age 4 upwards. Take a look at www.TattyTeddyToys.com for more information on the range and some super games and fun that can be doenloaded.

Disclosure: We received some toys from the My Blue Nose Friends Collectables range for review.  I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.