Term School Shoes Review

With only 1 week to go until my little munchkins are back to school, we have been busy zooming about the shops along with half of the nation to purchase new uniform, stationary and school shoes.

It’s my most dreaded time of the summer holidays to be honest.

Shopping and kids just don’t go together.

Most shoe shops are heaving and you now have to book an appointment like when you go to visit the GP, and all to often it’s utter madness. Completely Gin inducing.

When I was contacted by Term Shoes to see if I would like to review a pair of their school shoes for one of my boys, I leapt at the chance. I have honestly become very disillusioned with Clark’s school shoes. They are very expensive, they never seem to last very long (what my kids do to them during a school day I have no idea but it looks like they’ve competed in an Iron Man challenge at the end of each day!) and they seem to be more style than substance. The toys in the bottom of some of the shoes was the last straw for me. All the kids apparently ‘needed’ them but they had lost the poxy toys out of them within the first few days. Never again…


Who are Term Shoes?

Term School Shoes & Outdoors is a British brand registered in 2016 by a husband and wife team, who have been importing and selling a variety of children’s footwear brands in the UK. They started their business 6 years ago, to supply school shoes to the UK market and have learned much about the types of shoes British children need. Term was born out of the desire to make a great shoes and boots that children want to wear.

*Designed in the UK*

The shoes have been designed in the UK for the needs and desires of the UK child and they aim to make school shoes that even secondary school children will wear! Term school shoes are manufactured in India, again in accordance with EU standards. Once a child reaches 11 years old, they tend to turn their backs on traditional school shoes and buy high street fashion shoes, often very cheap and with no support, even damaging their feet. Term shoes will provide better support for these developing years, great insoles for comfort and designs that a teenager would be happy to wear.

Their designs for the younger market are gorgeous with contemporary and traditional options, concentrating on comfort and fit.

High quality leather upper, double dyed through, so that if scuffed it is less noticeable and can be polished in

Thermo rubber flexible and strong soles

Touch fastening and lace options – *new* loafers for older girls

Price range from £39.99-£49.99 depending on size/style


I had a look on the Term website and was presented with a decent, but not overwhelming, choice of school shoes for Zak. Using their handy print off foot measure, I checked Zak’s size and it matched what Clarks had measured him at when I bought him some trainers a few weeks ago. I knew I needed ones with robust toe protection because he plays football in them most playtimes and they also needed to be velcro fastening. He can do shoe laces, but he isn’t very quick at doing them so for the sake of ease, the teachers sanity and speed, I went for velcro. We chose the Hoddle Double shoe (RRP. from £39.99);

Term School shoes

They’re smart, comfortable and easy to get on.

The shoes arrived promptly and Zak couldn’t wait to get them on his feet (At the time of writing – 29/08/17 – Term Shoes have FREE next day delivery on all orders so make the most of it and get your order in before the kids go back!).

The shoes were well wrapped and arrived in pristine condition. They are made of real leather and have everything you’d expect from a well made school shoe;

Real Leather

Secure velcro fastening

Soft cushioned Collar

Cushioned insoles

Flexible Rubber Soles

Term Shoes website says this about the Hoddle Double Shoe;

“Designed in the UK with older boys in mind, this slip on school shoe has a fashionable look with a sleek toe and sole.  Manufactured from high grain leather and flexible thermo rubber soles, this is the ideal boys school shoe for middle school age upwards.  The pull on design makes the shoes easy to wear and the elasticated gusset on the upper creates a good fit.  A soft collar around the heel provides extra comfort to avoid blisters, whilst the comfortable insole provides support and cushioning throughout a busy school day.

Term school shoes are created with design, comfort and fit in mind.  Design so that children actually want to wear the shoes… Comfort so that children can do all they need in a day without a thought to their shoes… Fit so that comfort is improved but also a good fitting shoe looks after their growing feet”.


Zak is over the moon with his shiny new shoes and can’t wait to play football in them at playtime.

Term school shoes

He said they are easy to put on, comfy, shiny and ‘super cool’. High praise indeed from a 7 year old!

I feel happy and confident that they are going to last well, as well as fit his feet properly.

If you’re wanting to avoid the shops and get a robust, well made pair of school shoes for your little pickles, I would highly recommend buying a pair of shoes from Term.

You can visit their website by clicking here.


 Disclosure: I was sent a pair of Term School shoes for the purpose of this review. All words, thoughts and opinions are my own.



Say Fromage! (Recipe ideas using Le Rustique Camembert and English Honey)

I love cheese almost as much as I love Gin…and that’s a lot!

I know the stuff isn’t particularly brilliant for the old waistline but I truly believe a little of what you fancy does you good – everything in moderation.

The other week I was kindly sent a few samples of delicious Camembert and Brie cheese by French brand, Le Rustique, to try, and I’m never one to turn down food, let alone cheese! A very talented fellow blogger, Karen Burns-Booth who writes Lavender and Lovage (a travel and food writer) has come up with 3 delicious recipes marrying Le Rustique together with English Honey – not a combination some might think of but trust me, it really works and cheese with honey is actually a very traditional accompaniment for cheese. You learn something new every day!


A bit about Le Rustique…

You have probably seen and heard of this brand of cheese before if you’re a fromage fan like me. I said Fromage, not Farage, don’t go all political on me now folks…

You can find Le Rustique in most supermarkets these days, sat upon the shelf in its distinctive little red and white gingham lined wooden box. The box makes the perfect vestle in which to bake one of their whole camemberts and they also look delightful in a homemade cheese and wine hamper. Hint, hint, hubster. It’s my birthday soon…

You can adapt the taste of the cheese to your own personal taste, from “young” to “mature”.  Because the cheese is wrapped in a breathable waxed paper, if you leave it anywhere between 35 days and 20 days before the “use by date”, it’ll change the intensity of the flavour depending on how you like it.

Le Rustique cheese came about due to one man’s passion for authentic French recipes and flavours, combined with his love for cheese. In 1975, a Normandy dairy farmer called, Jean Verrier, developed the traditional recipe for his now famous, creamy textured Camembert. Since then, Le Rustique cheese-makers have maintained the same age-old artisan techniques and recipes to deliver these creamy cheeses, becoming the recognised brand that is seen in supermarkets across the land today.

The Normandy farmers Le Rustique work with mainly run family farms, with around 50 to 70 cows per herd.

The farmers lives revolve around the cows’ routine: milking times, moving fields, it’s all about the well-being of the cows. The well-being of the animals also plays a role in preserving the rich resources of Normandy.

The Le Rustique farmers monitor energy and water use to reduce the environmental impact. This respect for nature means that Normandy produces cheeses with a worldwide reputation, like Le Rustique Camembert.

Le Rustique Cheeses are in constant evolution, and each stage has its own distinct taste; the maturing process can be divided into three stages:

YOUNG: 35 days before the “use by date” – Firm texture and a light, fresh flavour (my personal favourite)

RIPE: 20 to 35 days before the “use by date” – Soft “melt-in-the-mouth texture with a distinctive almost mushroom flavour

MATURE: 20 days before the “use by date” – a creamy, runny and soft texture with a very pronounced and complex flavour.


Image from Lavender and Lovage Blog

The 3 recipes Karen has devised using Le Rustique and Honey are;

Le Rustique Camembert and Apple Scones with Honey Butter

Le Rustique Camembert and Hazelnut Parcels with Quick Fruit and Honey Chutney

Le Rustique Brie Tartlets with Honey Onion Relish

Head on over to Lavender and Lovage’s beautiful blog to see her recipes using French Cheese and English Honey, using Le Rustique.

They all sound utterly delicious (my tummy is rumbling just reading the recipes) and I have bought the ingredients to make scones this bank holiday weekend. Hopefully I will do Karen’s recipe justice!

Image from Lavender and Lovage Blog


What did I do with my Le Rustique samples?

I scoffed them all, that’s what.

No, on a serious note, I really enjoyed this cheese. I often buy it anyway, I like the flavour of it a lot, and I did a couple of different things with my samples.

The Brie I used in a Brie and Cranberry toastie, a very indulgent lunch but it was a rare treat for us, normally only reserved for Christmas time in our household. A bit like pairing the cheese with the honey, the sweet and savoury combination of a Brie and Cranberry sandwich is a real delight.

With the whole Camembert, we had another cheeky treat and I made breaded baked camembert with it.

I simply unpackaged the camembert straight from the fridge, dipped it in some beaten egg to coat the outside and then coated the Camembert in some breadcrumbs and fried it for a couple of minutes each side in a little butter. Once golden on both sides, transfer the breadcrumbed camembert to a baking dish and bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 180’c (fan).

I served the cheese with a little rocket salad, toasted fresh bread, some honey butter and some cranberry sauce.

Indulgent but truly scrummy.

For more information on the cheese, visit the Le Rustique website and for more recipes and inspiration, visit Lavender and Lovage’s wonderful blog!


 Disclosure: I was sent some free samples of Le Rustique cheese in return for this review. All words, thoughts and opinions are my own.



Chalkola Chalk Marker Review (PLUS a Giveaway and Discount Code!)

My boys love doing anything arty – basically anything that is guaranteed to make a mess – so when we were kindly offered the chance to review some chalk markers by Chalkola, they were more happy to give them a whirl. I on the other hand, was rather excited because I have a nice little chalkboard pillar in the kitchen that was crying out for some snazzy pens to use on it rather than a small piece of green chalk that the toddler has mostly eaten. Seriously, give the kid some peas and he shouts, “yuck!“, and lobs them about the dinner table but give him a piece of chalk to draw with, “Mmmm, yummy!“. I’ll never understand what goes through their brain boxes sometimes.

We were sent 2 different packs which we have reviewed below and Chalkola are also offering you wonderful Knutters a fab 15% saving on purchases. Read on for the code!

Chalkola chalk markers are designed to work on blackboards, whiteboards, glass, plastic and other non-porous surfaces. We tried them out on our kitchen chalk board, which is a pillar wall in our kitchen that we have coated in blackboard paint, and on the glass on our french doors.

Zak really enjoyed using the chunky chalkboard pens to draw on the glass. He said it was a bit like painting – the pens draw just like a marker pen but the ink flows and looks just like paint. Luke preferred to use the thinner pens to write and spent a good 10 minutes pretending he was a teacher. He did some maths sums and then got bored because Ben (who is 3) answered, “2!“, to everything he was asked so he began drawing Pokemon instead. Ben spent his time drawing squiggles and I was watching him like a hawk in case he diverted his attention to my walls instead of the glass on the doors! Thankfully he didn’t but there’s always a next time.

Here are the things we liked about the Chalkola chalk pens:

  • The ink dries pretty quickly and doesn’t smudge or rub off when you rub your hand over it. Perfect if you are a teacher and want to write a notice on the classroom window for the parents to see!
  • We always end up with the floor, hands and faces covered in colourful chalk dust as the kids are drawing – this is avoided with the pens (as long as you don’t have a toddler with a penchant for drawing on themselves that is).
  • The colours are much bolder and brighter than traditional chalk and there is more variety of colour.
  • The chalk markers easily wash away with a wet cloth or baby wipe – although it’s best to test a small area with the markers first just to ensure they will actually come off. I did this on my chalkboard wall. Because it’s blackboard paint, it does say that the marker could penetrate the paint so err on the side of caution to begin with as they may leave marks on some surfaces.
  • Although Ben managed to some of the chalk marker pen on his jumper, it washed off  easily in the washing machine without any issues.
  • You can also use the pens on paper or card so they are ideal for crafts, especially on black paper.

My eldest two boys (9 and 7) loved using the pens and ask almost daily to have a go with them on the back doors. Ben needs constant supervision with them because, to be honest, he’s a bit of a menace, but he also loves them and the novelty of being allowed to draw on something other than paper was epically exciting for him!

Chalkola pens are not recommended for children under 3 years of age.

 I had a lovely time (when all the kids were at school with some music on and a cup of coffee – bliss) having a go with the markers. I decided to try and draw some pot plants which are a bit naff but that’s not a reflection on the markers, it’s my terrible art skills! I like the boldness of colour you get from them and the metallic ones looked ace on my Chalkboard wall. I used trusty old baby wipes to get the marker off my painted chalk wall and they worked a treat. Magic eraser also works according to the Chalkola website.

I can see these pens being a fab addition to any classroom. Teachers and children alike will find all sorts of uses for them and I can well imagine things like spelling and maths would be great fun if you’re a kid and you’re allowed to draw on the glass on the classroom doors!


Win your own set of 21 Chalkola markers!

You guys can stand a chance of winning your own set of Chalkola markers! Even if you don’t have a use for them, maybe you could enter to see if you can win some to donate to your child’s school? I am sure they would be greatly appreciated.

The competition opens at 12am on 13/04/2017.

The closing date for this Rafflecopter giveaway is midnight on Wednesday 19th April.

The winner will be selected at random and contacted by myself within 48 hours of the competition closing.

Chalkola will arrange to send the prize of 21 chalk markers out to the lucky winner (prizes can only be sent to UK addresses so I am afraid this competition is for UK residents alone).

Good luck Knutters!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Feel free to follow Chalkola on social media for more creative ideas, savings & great giveaways!

Like Chalkola on Facebook

Follow Chalkola on Instagram

Follow Chalkola on Twitter

Be inspired on Pinterest


Save 15% on Chalkola pens at Amazon

Chalkola pens are now available to buy on Amazon and Life is Knutts readers can save 15% by using the code;

15OFFSTR

at the checkout, when purchasing either the;

Set of 8 large 15mm markers

or

Box of 21 chalk pens, including 6 metallic colours 


Disclosure: We were kindly sent 2 packs of Chalkola pens in return for an honest review. All words and opinions are my own.



Arts and Crafts gift ideas with Wicked Uncle!

I was recently set a blogger challenge by online retailer Wicked Uncle, to purchase some arts and crafts items from their website and to then share our verdict on the items received. We were really chuffed to be asked and the boys couldn’t wait to scour the Wicked Uncle website to see what took their fancy.

They were literally chomping at the bit to receive their items so, what did we choose and, most importantly, what did the boys think of them?


Who are Wicked Uncle?

Wicked Uncle pride themselves on helping solve the mystery of what to buy children of every age.

Have a clueless uncle who needs a helping hand as to what buy your kids?

At a loss yourself for ideas for kids birthday presents because they seem to have everything?

Yes?

Then Wicked Uncle are here to help!

They have scoured the world to find a really useful selection of fun, unusual and different presents for children so you don’t have to! They have even tested them with their own ‘Junior Testers’ so they are 100% fun approved!

Wicked Uncle can gift wrap your presents, send them direct to a recipient with a handwritten birthday card and even send you a birthday reminder every year to make sure you don’t forget! (Clever eh?!) These guys literally take the stress out of present purchasing.


How easy was it to use the website?

The Wicked Uncle website is literally idiot proof. My dad is pretty I.T illiterate and I think even he would be able to use it without too much bother.

The ordering process was very straight forward. The site is set up in age and gender categories, making it very straightforward to go to the age appropriate toys. I loved the fact the items are grouped into themes as well so I could narrow down what I was looking for rather than trawling through pages upon pages of ‘things’. My boys love using their imaginations and being creative. Thankfully March’s Wicked Uncle Blogger challenge was to review their arts and crafts offerings so this was right up our (glitter covered) alley! There was a large selection of items to choose from, some of which I had never seen before, and others that were brands I was familiar with such as Melissa & Doug.


 What items did the boys choose?

Zak: Kinetic Sand

Zak (who is 7) chose to buy some Kinetic Sand. He has wanted some of this stuff for ages so he was over the moon to finally be getting some. I am a bit of a worry head when it comes to messy play at home, unless it’s summer and I can launch the kids out into the garden where they can get messy to their hearts content, so I was a little apprehensive about having sand indoors at home. Would my fears come to fruition?

In short, no. Thankfully indoor sand wasn’t as bad as I had feared…until the toddler had a go that is.

Despite the fact it says the sand ‘only sticks to itself’ it does also disperse fairly easily around the house, into underwear and into hair… Moral of the story is not to let the toddler play with it indoors. My 7 year old, Zak, however, he had a whale of a time with the stuff. It’s actually quite therapeutic/hypnotic and I joined in for a bit. It almost looks and feels like sinking sand, very odd but also very cool.

You can mould the sand using pots/sandpit moulds etc, that sort of thing and you can also build it up and cut it with a plastic knife. It kept Zak amused for hours and he buried some mini dinosaurs in his to become a budding paleontologist for a while.

Zak said, “I think Kinetic sand is great. I like it because it feels funny, you can do lots of things with it and you can play with it on a rainy day when you can’t go outside and use the sandpit. I would give Kinetic sand 9/10 – it would have got 10/10 but I wanted blue sand and my mummy got me normal sand coloured stuff”.

Silly mummy…

My only gripe is that the Kinetic sand didn’t come with anything to store it in once open. I put it in an old chocolate tub (like what you get Cadbury’s roses in) so the lid fits firmly and I know it isn’t going to end up everywhere whilst being stored.

Kinetic sand retails at £15.95 which is quite expensive for some sand without a storage container or any tools/moulds I think but it doesn’t dry out, it has longevity and, above all, the kids loved it.

Luke: Nutty Putty

Luke chose to get some Nutty Putty. Again, this is marketed as being (fairly) mess free and for me, it looks a million times better than the dreaded playdoh, which ends up trodden into carpets and dries out very quickly.

It’s essentially a plastic based putty which can be shaped and moulded as you see fit and then you can either put it back in a sealed bag to use again another day or you can bake it in the oven for about 15 minutes to set it hard. By doing this you can make ornaments, keyrings, window decorations, the possibilities are almost endless!

The starter set we bought came with 6 different coloured putty’s (you can mix the putty’s together to make any other colours), an instruction book, some modelling tools and a rolling pin.

Luke set about creating some pokemon characters with it and a fish, then Zak and Ben came and joined in and made a flower, a snail and a teddy bear (which looked like something from a horror film if truth be told!)

I had a go too and made myself a Gin and Tonic glass/bottle to stick on the window in the kitchen. I was quite proud of my efforts I have to say. Gold star for mummy, actually, just a G&T will do thanks.

The Nutty Putty starter set retails for £17.95 which isn’t too bad considering what you get in the box and it really did keep the kids quiet for a long time.

Luke said, “The Nutty Putty is really cool. The colours are really bright and they stay bright even once they have come out of the oven. I liked squshing it about and making the models was good fun. I would give it 10/10”.

So there we have it, the master has spoken and he thinks the stuff is awesome. As a parent, I am actually inclined to agree for once! It was good fun.


Overall, the kids loved the items received from Wicked Uncle and I was impressed with the options available on their website. It took the boys a very long time to choose what they wanted to try!

The various categories really help to pinpoint a particular theme or type of gift and you can also ensure the items you are looking at are age appropriate by filtering the search – this is one of the biggest selling points of their website I would say. I would be more than happy to recommend Wicked Uncle to friends and family You can see the full range of toys available (there are some really unusual finds!) on their website here;

 www.wickeduncle.com

Thank you for letting us be toy testers Wicked Uncle! We had a great time!


 Disclosure: We were sent a £40 voucher to purchase some products from the Wicked Uncle website in return for this review. All words, thoughts and opinions are my own…or my children’s!



Learning to Ride the Lightening – #SurfsUp2 Screening (with Sony Pics at Home)

We were lucky enough to be invited yesterday to Sony’s Head Office in London for a screening of Surf’s Up 2, which is released on DVD today (Monday 20th March 2017). The boys had been so excited about it for ages (not only seeing the film but getting to go into the big city for the day) and thankfully, they weren’t left disappointed! We had a wonderful day and the movie was brilliant.

Upon arriving at the venue, we were treated so some tea, coffee and cakes – this literally made the boys life. I think Zak was a little too excited however, because he came back to the sofa we were sat on with 2 chocolate chip muffins, 3 biscuits, 2 cookies and a pastry all for himself. Amazingly, he did eat them all, the little piglet!

After some breakfast, we then went down to the rather suave screening room in the basement and settled down (in some VERY comfy seats) for the movie. Seeing the boys faces as the curtains pulled back to reveal the screen was just priceless, they thought it was the most wonderful thing ever.

They sat and watched the film without fidgeting (a miracle where Zak is concerned) and were completely engrossed for the duration.

Afterwards, we went to a lounge area to do some lunch, to do some surfing related crafts and the boys also got to have a go on a surfing simulator. They were pretty good at it – and I made sure I wore a dress so I didn’t need to embarrass myself on it! Haha!

In the movie, the characters learn to “Ride the Lightening”, which means surf during a lightening storm. Luke and Zak loved having a go at pretending they were doing the same and they have already asked if we can get some Surf Boards next time we go on holiday!


So, what’s the film about?

Cody Maverick, hungry for a new challenge, convinces an infamous big wave riding crew known as The
Hang 5, voiced by WWE Superstars John Cena®, Undertaker®, Triple H®, Paige™ and Mr. McMahon® to let him join them on their journey to a mysterious surf spot known as The Trenches, where legend has it, they’ll find the biggest waves in the world. Cody soon discovers that the life he left behind might be more heroic than what any death-defying wave has to offer.
Without giving the entire film away, I will just say that the film covered some important life lessons such as teamwork, not giving up, taking care of those you love and humility. Despite the film being voiced by WWE wrestlers, there is no violence in it and it’s actually a really uplifting film. Both my lads gave it 5 out of 5!
Zak’s favourite charater was Cody, the main penguin in the film. He is the character that goes on the biggest journey during the film and he’s probably the most relatable character for the kids. He’s learning, finding his way and has big dreams and ambitions.
Luke’s favourite character was JC, one of the Hang 5 and who was voiced by the wrestler, John Cena. He is humble, realistic, brave and experienced. Luke thought he looked super cool too!
If your kids like adventure films,  mixed with humour and cool characters, we would highly recommend Surf’s Up 2, Wavemania.
Surf’s up 2 is out on DVD today and the disc includes bonus features such as;
Bloopers!
“Behind the Mic: Hanging with the Dream Team”
“Chicken Joe’s Extreme Slaughter Island Tour”
“How to Draw Your Favorite Characters with Henry Yu”
“Inside the Music with Composer Toby Chu”
SURF’S UP 2: WAVEMANIA is rated PG has a run time of approximately 1 hour 21 minutes.
You can buy the DVD online, in stores across the UK and on Amazon at a cost of approximately £7.99

 Disclosure: We were invited to a screening of Surf’s Up 2 by Sony Pics at Home. All words, thoughts and opinions are my own.
Thank you to DnA PR and Sony Pics at Home for inviting us!