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Lifestyle

Coles Back To School Lunchboxes and Accessories Review

I hope the first few weeks have gone smoothly for everyone and for the families who’s kids are starting school they’ve transitioned well.  Gracie is absolutely loving Pre-School, she’s settled in well and says she only misses me a little bit 🙁

With starting school comes all the fun of working out what lunchbox and drink bottle would be suitable for your child! I don’t know about you, but I actually find this whole process a headache in itself!  I tend to be an over-packer when it comes to food and I find some of the lunchboxes look way too small and Gracie would be complaining about being hungry!  I do not want a HANGRY Gracie at all costs ha!

Smash have set me an array of lunchboxes, bottles and cool bags for me to review and share my thoughts with, all these products you can purchase at Coles.

The two lunchboxes I was sent were the Bento Switch-up and Bento Bite 

The Bento Bite:

  • Has six sections which are spill proofBag and Bento Bite
  • Removable custom ice brick
  • Removable inner tray
  • Removable leak proof Snack Pot

Gracie loved the look of this lunchbox, especially with its funky colours.  From a mum perspective I find it slightly stiff to open and close – however this could loosen up with use.  I also found it overall to be a slightly heavier/bulkier lunchbox, so might not be as suitable for much younger children.

 

 

 

Bento Switch-up

  • Has removable and adjustable dividers to create 2,3 or 4 compartments.
  • Has a funky Cool Skin base that protects the box
  • Two silicone edged dividers

I have to say out of the two this was my favourite, I love the look of it and I thought it was the perfect size for Gracie lunch.  I also thought this would be a great size lunchbox for a parent to take to work as well.

Bento Switch-up

Switch up

 

Bottles:

Glitter Bottle

Both Gracie and I loved this bottle as who doesn’t love a bit of bling.  On a practical note, Gracie felt that it was too heavy for her before it held the water, which I agree with.  I feel this bottle would be suitable for an older child or for a Mum like me who loves sparkle!

Glow Bottle

A bottle that Glows in the dark for up to 6 hours!!  This one definitely got Gracie’s attention.

  • Twin wall insulated featuring fashion prints with GLOW IN THE DARK technology. Glows for up to 6 hours!
  • It’s lightweight and squeezable for fast hydration with a wide opening for easy cleaning.
  • Illumination provides comfort and helps children locate water in the night.
  • Perfect 420ml size

 

 

Selection of cool bags

I received a colourful array of cool bags, I love that each one has their ‘Blue IQ’ antimicrobial lining which inhibits the growth of uncontrolled bacteria, mould, and mildew.  My pick of the bunch that I was sent has to be The Fridge.

The Fridge cool bag keeps lunchboxes cool for up to seven hours.  It has 2 large removable gel ice, so you can pop them in your freezer! It’s designed to fit the Bento Bite, The Bento Switch Up and the Rubbish Free Lunch Box.

 

 

 

Overall a great selection at a reasonable priced and all can be purchased at Coles.

 

Please note these were gifted to me by SMASH Enterprises but all opinions are of my own.

 

Lifestyle

Our Pre-School Journey

Gracie ready for school

The time is fast approaching, my baby girl who’s been my shadow for over 4.5 years is starting her educational journey and starting Pre-School at the beginning of February.  I’m super relieved that she got into our first choice as its a relatively small place and very nurturing.

We have a busy couple of weeks, with a parents evening to go through everything one more time and the chance to meet other parents whose kids are starting at the same time as well as a final playdate before she officially starts.

I’m feeling slightly flappy and emotional as my husband will be overseas for this period of time! I’m also feeling nervous about getting there on time and juggling with baby Noah needing his first nap around the same-time we need to be in the car etc…I have a feeling I will be doing lots of car naps in the first couple of months!

Because she’s never been in any form of care I’ve had to get a few bits to ensure a smooth transition which I wanted to share with you guys, plus I’ve been given some discount codes to share with you all!

 

Planetrover Lunchbox

 

Lunchbox and Bottle

Biome

PlanetBox Rover and Thermos FUNtainer

The PlanetBox Rover has pretty much been on my wish list for the past few years for Gracie.  I know quite a few people that have had theirs for years and it’s looking just as good, which was a huge plus for me.

Planetbox Rover

It is a more expensive box than the others on the market, but it’s 100% Stainless Steel and no chance of Gracie loosing the lid as it’s attached.

Gracie already has a Thermos FUNTainer and loves it.  It has a handy handle, spill proof and is double walled so keeps drinks cooler for longer.

 

 

LunchPunch

Sandwich Cutters and Stix

Lunchpunch do a cute range of sandwich cutters to jazz up your kids sandwiches and do little stix, which I like popping fruit and veggies on.

Sandwich cutter

 

 

Bright Star Kids

The backpack and pencil case she will be taking are from Bright Star Kids.  I love that you’re able to personalise these back packs – Gracie loves that it has her name on it!  The back pack has two main compartments and a large front pocket.  There is also a mesh drink bottle pocket at the side of the bag.

 

Backpack

 

 

Discount Codes:

LUNCH PUNCH

Use the code ‘GRACIE’ for 10% off.

 

BIOME:

Discount: Receive $15 off when you spend $40 in one transaction.

Code: BES201

Expiry:  28 February 2019

Terms and Conditions: $40 in one transaction. One use per person. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.

Use: Simply add the code to the code voucher box at checkout and click apply.

 

BRIGHT STAR KIDS:

Use code:FRIEND and get 15% off, no minimum spend needed and expires 30th April 2019.

 

Please note some items in this blog post were gifted to me, but all opinions are of my own.  This blog post contains affiliate links at no further cost to yourself.

 

If you’re looking for some lunchbox inspiration, check out these fab IG accounts:

Lifestyle

Get Ready For School Australia Review

t Ready For School Australia

I can’t believe how quickly time is flying, not only will Gracie be four in June but next year she will be starting pre-school.  I had been looking around for something to help ease the transition to pre-school and came across Get Ready for School Australia.

What I like about about Get Ready for School Australia is that their home program aligns to the Australian Curriculum.  The ‘how-to’ books have been cleverly written for Aussie parents to digest and use on their child’s learning and their printable materials use Australian School Fonts and are re-printable.

We were kindly gifted:  The Complete School Readiness Kit

 

 

 

What we received:

– A laminated Personalised Name Writing Set containing 6 write on and wipe off pages. 

– The book ‘How to Get Ready for English’ containing 70 simple, trialed fun activities.

– The book ‘How to Get Ready for Maths’ containing 97 simple, trialed, fun activities.

– The book ‘How to Get Ready for Science’ containing 36 simple, trialed, fun activities.

These How To guides are written specifically for Australian parents by an Australian Educator. They align to the Australian Curriculum and are parent friendly and easy to use. They act as a guide and journal for you to monitor where you child is at, and gather ideas of what you are going to do as a parent to support their next steps in learning at home.

– A printed Exploring Letters and Sounds Workbook in your State or Territory’s font.

– A printed Numeral Formation Workbook in your State or Territory’s font.

– A laminated Early Learning Sticker Chart for you to display on your fridge, or somewhere in your home, to monitor your child’s learning and celebrate their development.

– 90 Assorted Star Reward Stickers 

– A Write and Wipe laminated Personalised Name Writing Set

– A Write and Wipe Forming Numerals 0-10 laminated reusable worksheet in your State or Territory’s font.

– A Micador Early Start Safety Marker perfect to use on your laminated name cards.

– A plastic document box to house all of your learning materials

 

What we loved:

What Gracie loves:  The personalised first name writing cards and early learning sticker chart

What I love:  The way the pack has been simplified and created for parents to easily sit down with their child and do various activities.

 

Discount:

Save 10% off storewide by using code ‘LOVE10’ upon checkout

Disclosure: Please note this pack was kindly gifted to me but all opinions on this product are of my own.

 

Socials:

Website:  https://getreadyforschoolaustralia.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/getreadyforschoolaustralia

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/getreadyforschoolaustralia

Lifestyle

Interview: Skye Abrahams of Packed

Packed Lunch

Founded by Mum of three boys Skye Abrahams, Packed is a Melbourne business supplying real food lunchboxes to children in pre-school to grade 3.

Launching in February, Packed only uses the best quality local produce and organic wherever possible.  A new menu is prepared each term based on seasonal ingredients and no additives, preservatives or refined sugar are ever used.

I caught up with Skye recently to find out more about herself and Packed.

How did the idea for Packed come about?

Packed has come about as a combination of a life-long passion for health and food, and noticing a gap in the market for truly healthy, sustainable lunchboxes. Packed will target Melbourne schools that either don’t have a tuckshop, or only have unhealthy options. I hear many parents complaining about the greasy corner milkbar without a single gluten free option and not a vegetable in sight. Parents deserve a day or two off the lunchbox treadmill, and the quality of their children’s lunches shouldn’t have to suffer in order to achieve this.

Will you be offering special dietary requirement options?

Yes! All our lunches are refined sugar free and free from additives including preservatives, colours and flavours. We also have plenty of gluten and dairy free options available.

Skye Abrahams

Skye Abrahams

What does “sustainability” mean to Packed and why should parents care?

I really didn’t want to create a take away option that put a further strain on the environment. We’re early days at Packed, so we’re currently operating using Greenmark compostable packaging, but the plan is to operate using a fleet of stainless steel lunchboxes that we collect and wash each day from school (watch this space!). Parents are more time poor than ever before, with many families having both parents working. It’s easy to see why readily packaged foods are so popular. I want to provide a convenient option that eliminates packaging entirely. Many schools are promoting “nude food”, so it’s great to be able to supply a lunch that is in line with this philosophy.

What’s your approach to feeding a growing family?

In a nutshell: Just eat real food. I have overcome some serious fussy eating in our family (think plain carbs only). I find consistently offering a broad, healthy, colourful spread of food and discussing the benefits of various food with the children has really helped broaden their palate. We also talk about the detrimental affects too much sugar and “fake food” full of numbers can have on our body. I notice behavioural side effects following high amounts of sugar and especially artificial colours, so I always use that as an opportunity to talk about how that food made them feel. I don’t like to demonise any food, so I try not to get too uptight about what the boys might eat at a party or a friend’s house, but educating them on the benefits of fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and proteins and having these foods at the centre of their diet is my mandate.Guac

What’s your boys favourite lunch?

They all have different favourites! The older two love fresh fruit, especially berries. I craved raspberries during pregnancy and it’s easy to see where that came from! I caught one of them trading pocket money for the youngest’s left over egg and lettuce sandwich, so that is evidently a current fave! My youngest loves a hot meal, so in the cooler months I send leftovers in a thermos for him. I’m hoping to be out at schools with a pot of warm soup as part of our “Packed” lunch service in the winter months!

What’s the one food you couldn’t live without?

Another tricky one! I’m going to say avocado. How good are avocados?! Fortunately, all three of my boys like avocado, so that is a super easy lunch if I’m short on time. So full of vitamins and healthy fats to fill them up. I remember travelling overseas when my youngest had just started solids. Not wanting to rely on packet food, but not having access to a kitchen, bubs enjoyed many a mashed avo, mashed banana, natural yoghurt, or squashed peach!

To find out more about Packed click here

 

Skye's Simple Guacamole

Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe haas avocados
  • 1 lime, peeled
  • 1/4 red onion (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • Pinch of sea salt or Himalayan salt

Instructions

1

Thermomix or food processor:

2

Add all ingredients & mix 5 secs speed 5.

3

Top with chopped coriander if you're a fan

4

Otherwise mash avos with a fork, juice lime & stir through the rest

5

Serve with tacos, or as an after school snack with veggie sticks