Stuck on You- Organised for September

**Updated Blog Post- 26th August 2011**

The kids have barely broken up for the school summer holidays but like many mums I've been busy preparing for the return to school in September. I have to start early, I learned this from experience when my daughter (my eldest) started school nursery and I didn't see the point of buying her uniform so early when there was a chance she'd outgrow it before September, so I held back then there was nothing left in the shops in her size when September rolled around!

These days I'm not a rookie! Organised mums get the uniform in July but buy the next size up, so even if they do have a growth spurt, it still fits. I have already got the kids their school shoes for September- I needed to do this early as *the* shop to go to doesn't get many in each size and will sell out quite quickly. So you could say my radar is up for anything the kids might need for September, and I'm getting it sorted now.

This year is particularly special, and requires more organising as my youngest is now at the age where he finished nursery and starts reception class. September will be his first time where he stays at school all day, and as he will be the youngest in his year, I feel I have a lot of preparation to do to get him up to speed. I've started to really encourage his independence in most of the things he does. So he already gets dressed by himself, but now he also puts on his shoes solo. He already gets himself a biscuit when I say it is ok but now he takes off the wrapper by himself and puts it in the bin too. Wherever there is an opportunity that I can let him be self reliant, I do and even though it's always quicker if I just do it for him, I'm holding back and letting him find his own way.

My daughter is 8 now and even though she is fully independent in terms of getting dressed- she needs some fine tuning too! She likes to borrow my things and so now I'm starting to feel like I don't have a baby on my hip anymore - they are both more independent, so I'm feeling like I want to have some things just of my own again- and not share! It's my turn to not want to share! The main thing she borrows is my hairbrush and all my hair accessories. I bought her some headbands of her own so she doesn't need to take my more expensive, Accessorize bejewelled satin headband, but she still uses my brush each day.

I went to a blogging conference recently- CyberMummy 2011, and in our event goody bags there was an offer from a company called Stuck on You. They make personalised items for kids and also those clothes lables that we all need when we buy in a load of new uniform, and I was able to get some free samples. So this made my 'organising side' very happy and I saw an opportunity to once and for all- get my daughter to use her own hairbrush!

I ordered a personalised hairbrush for her with her name on and a picture of a cupcake, and for my son I ordered a blue duffle bag with his name on- especially for putting his gym kit into when school starts in September. When this package arrived I was SOOOO excited! It felt like a gift for me, because when they have nice bags to put their things in, they are more likely to use them and I end up not stressing about them leaving it hung on their bedroom door - they actually want to carry it!

The blue duffle bag for my son is absolutely gorgeous! It is really good quality and is fully lined and even has a little zipped pocket inside which will be handy for when he takes his weekly 'baking money' into school. We got the picture of a campervan on the front and this has my sons name printed on it so its a real 'surfer dude' style bag which suits my son to the ground! I liked the fact that it was a big size, so it will easily take his gym kit for now but when he is old enough to join the local rugby team as his dad hopes to take him to, the bag is easily big enough for a rugby kit and studded boots to go inside too.

My daughter's hairbrush was excellent quality. It is a really solid feeling, thick wood. I know that sounds daft but what I mean is that it was substantial- not 'cheap'. The wood is painted pink and the name and a cupcake are printed on in white. The bristles are a thick plastic with bobbles on the the end, and when you pull them through your hair, it can cope with thick, coarse hair (which I have) rather than some brushes which are pathetic at getting out tangles in thick hair! Any girls hair type would be ok with this brush - and at least now my daughter won't feel the need to steal my own hairbrush. I like to know where it is and its never where I left it when she has used it!

The last thing I ordered from Stuck on You to get organised for school were some name labels for the uniform. I got two types - the stick on type and the iron on type. Apparently the stick ons are best for things that won't have as much 'wear' like the inside of school shoes (at the side) or inside a gym bag for example. The iron ons are designed for the items that you will wash, wear and iron frequently. However out of the two, I have to say I preferred the stick ons. They were easy to peel, easy to apply and seem to be welded on! I can't see those stickers coming loose at all and reassuringly, the Stuck on You swing ticket that came on the duffle bag has the tagline "Labels that stay stuck!" I liked this confidence - it made me more confident.

The iron on labels were really difficult to get off the sheet and I ended up having to get my scissors to crowbar the label from the sheet (which ended up damaging the label) then when I tried to iron it, it did not stick at all. I wonder if this was because I did have such trouble getting the sticker off the sheet - maybe I pulled off 'too much' of the backing and the adhesive bit that bonds to the fabric is still within the bit I pulled off? I'm going to have another go with it and see if I can make it work, but it wasn't easy to do so be sure to have plenty of time for the task when you start to label the school clothes

**Updated section!**
I was in contact with the Stuck On You people after I had this experience with the lables and they kindly offered to re-produce my iron on lables. They asked me if it was ALL the lables on the sheet that were difficult to remove and it was. They told me that it rarely happens that labels would arrive to the customer in this fashion, so I waited for the new sheet to make a new judgement on them.

It was a completely different experience when I got the new sheet of labels. Each label came off really easily and as I followed the step by step instructions on the packet, I got the outcome I was expecting! I am convinced now that I did just have a faulty sheet of lables the first time around. So if this happens to you, don't hesitate to contact the guys at Stuck on You as they are really helpful and will replace any faulty sheets (although they said this almost never happens, so it's likely you won't have this!)

Because it was so easy to do, I decided to label up my son's whole school uniform rather than a few key pieces, and I have some tips that might come in useful to you:

If you are ironing onto a crew neck jumper or into skirt or trousers with an elasticated waistband and therefore the neck or waist opening is quite small, rather than struggle to get your big iron into the opening, simply turn the garment inside out and apply the lable. Trust me, I did a couple the 'hard way' before figuring this out!!

Also, be sure to keep the iron still as you press the label on. By the time I'd done 4 or 5 pieces, I was getting confident and started concentrating less. Then I found myself wiggling the iron around on the garment like I normally would in 'traditional' ironing and it made my label wiggly! The name on it is a bit skew-wiff, but you can still read it. However for perfect neat labels- keep the iron still!!

All in all I thought the personalised gifts and school products from Stuck on You were excellent and I would definitely buy from them in the future. They have a Facebook page where you can find exclusive special offers and it can be found here.


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