Smiggle got it right. What better way to get us prepared for back to school than with an early morning #BacktoSmiggle invite. I have to admit, the past two weeks have gone to pot, I’ve been off work and we’ve had a fantastic time just relaxing and enjoying the best of South Wales.When I received an invite to check out Smiggle’s Back to School range I have to admit to being more than a little excited. Paperchase is generally my guilty pleasure of choice and CM has definitely inherited my stationery addict gene, so what, OMG what, could be better than a stationery outlet focused on children first and foremost?
As you walk into the store the colours overwhelm and definitely tickle a young person’s tastebuds. This year’s Back to School range featuring puppies, penguins, kittens and dinosaurs definitely drew my three in, and I was immediately greeted with a ‘must-buy’ list a fortune long.
And herein lies the problem with Smiggle. Whilst I am quite competent at self-policing my spend in my favourite stationery shops, my children have yet to learn such constraint.
Fortunately there are some points around the store to help you out. As well as a sale area there are also offers around the store, this one near to the paypoint, definitely helpful when you are trying to placate the child not getting what you know to be the main purchase (and when are pens ever a bad purchase?!?): For me, there’s a lot of the Smiggle range which we’re not quite ready for (much to my disappointment!). The children don’t carry their own bags or stationery to school, so I was able to be quite militant on this- in spite of my own temptation: But the store is so much more than bags, notebooks and pencil cases. Stocking so many pens (we really can’t have enough), headphones and slapbands which are perfect for pocket-money savings. More relevantly to this Back to School mum were the packed lunch range. I loved the range of lunch boxes, especially the double-decker variety. But what I fell hook, line and sinker for (through bitter experience) and fortunately so did the boys, were the silicone roll bottles.I’d love to tell you these are an investment piece (at £11.50) but a couple of weeks into the school term you’ll have made your money back in the usual plastic variety. I cannot begin to count the drinks bottles my two boys have gone through. They do drink like water’s running dry and so, unlike their big sister who’s happy with the water fountain, they’ve always wanted a water bottle for the classroom. And so lost straws on some bottles, the massive dents in the metal flasks which look so much more infallible. It should go without saying I fell in love with this one. It’s silicone. What can go wrong? With the added bonus that it has a clip to attach to their book bag. This mummy’s heaven.
Added to which, I sort of get it, but it’s an added bonus. It Rolls Up.I get why this space-saving measure is practical. But to be honest, it really is just the added bonus. If my boys can get through even one term with one drinks bottle, I’ll have saved enough to buy my own bottle of something needed by parents!
The Smiggle team also had an exclusive for us. We were introduced to Series 2 Spikeys. Hands up, series 1 wasn’t even on my radar. But I have a daughter obsessed with Shopkins, and sons with Lego. Mother’s instinct- my children were obsessed by these as soon as they heard the word ‘collectables’ (Ain’t no flies on me).
We were lucky enough to find Francis in our goody bag and I had to referee so many negotiations as to who he belonged to for what period of time. Definitely a hit!Added to everything to attract your child in terms of colour and range, there’s also a testing desk at the back to the store to distract your child in testing the pens and pencils range whilst you shop. At the moment Smiggle are running a fab competition to design your own backpack. CM was perfectly focused in this task:If you’re looking for a discount range, Smiggle definitely isn’t it. If you’re looking for a place for children to spend their well-earned pocket-money, this is it. There are things which are bought in budget shops which are complete value for money, and some children’s stationery definitely ticks this box.
But when your child starts appreciating things, and their value- Smiggle will definitely step up to the mark. At 7, CM has been there for the last year (most of last year’s Christmas gifts came from Paperchase [where it wasn’t Shopkins or Equestria Girls]), the boys going into year 1 aren’t there yet. But Smiggle more than steps up on the packed lunch range, which a year at school has definitely proven the need for quality.
Smiggle in Cardiff celebrates its first year anniversary in September, and if you haven’t visited yet is definitely worth popping into St David’s Centre to while away at least an hour!
Disclosure: We were invited to a #BacktoSmiggle Bloggers Event and received a goody bag. We were not asked to write a post, but being a stationery addict I couldn’t resist. All thoughts and opinions are our own.