Reviewed by Louise Totton
It seems that we have no sooner broken up for the school holidays that we need to start planning for the kids’ return to school in September! My girls are 7 and 10, and I remember being that age myself and the massive excitement surrounding choosing all of my new school accessories ready for going back. One of the most exciting bits was always choosing pencil cases – I have absolutely no idea why, but I would agonise over my choices for what seemed like hours before deciding on the right one!
Of course, we no longer have to drag the kids into town to pick everything out, and the ‘forever’ spent choosing just the right items that used to be spent with very frazzled parents in a boiling hot WHSmiths can now be spent on the comfort of your own settee with a hot chocolate and a slice of cake! We were asked to try out some Back to School goodies from Gift Giving All Wrapped Up, and the girls jumped at the chance to pick out some of their new school items before they even finished this year!
There are some gorgeous items on their Back to School page, suitable for kids just starting nursery, all the way up to high-school and even university! The range includes umbrellas, glasses cases, tabards, gym bags, pencil cases and more. My two are absolutely potty about cats, so when they saw the stand-up, animal themed pen cases had cat options, their minds were made up!
We were sent three stand-up pen cases (RRP: £16 each) and two book band pen cases (RRP: £8.95 each) to try out. These are all available in a wide range of animals, including cats, dogs, pigs, pandas, bears, penguins and more. As I said, my girls love cats, so one of them opted for a grey cat with a blue zip-collar, and the other chose a black cat with a red collar, and we were also sent a white / tortie cat with a yellow collar.
The pen cases are absolutely gorgeous and have a very Japanese feel about them. The are packaged in a clear plastic box with Japanese accenting that both of my girls said looked really trendy and cool! The pen cases themselves are made from a silicone type material and feel very strong and are certainly high-quality items. They are stand-up pencil cases because they are used in an upright position, and the collar around the cat’s neck unzips to allow you to pop your pens and pencils inside, but also because of another very innovative design feature!
As well as being used as a pencil case, these cute little critters are also designed with another purpose in mind. Just unzip the lid, push the case down onto a desk and it pops into itself and becomes a desk-top pen pot! The top then becomes a super handy way of storing bits and bobs such as pencil sharpeners, rubbers and paperclips, and the whole thing brightens an otherwise boring workspace.
We absolutely loved the pen cases. The designs are fabulous and very appealing to both younger and older children. We had some of the less bright ones, but the pig and parrot are ultra-vivid and would be fantastic for younger kids. The quality of the silicone is excellent, and the pen cases are a good thickness. I also think that them being made of silicone is great as school bags can get a bit grubby over time, and these will wipe clean if they get mucky or smudged. The zip also feels great quality, and the little charm on the end of it makes it even easier for little hands to use.
We were also sent two Book Band Pen Cases to match the grey cat and black cat Stand Up Pen Cases perfectly. These are made from the same high-quality silicone as the larger cases and come packaged in the same style of plastic box with Japanese theming. They look rather like a silicone bookmark with a pouch at the front and a coloured elastic band at the back for wrapping around a notebook. The coloured elastic band is blue on our grey cat and red on the black cat, meaning that they match the stand up pen cases perfectly. The bands are adjustable, so can fit over any notebook between the sizes of A6 and B5 (smaller than A4), and fit three pens into the pouch. These are a really lovely way to keep a few pens or pencils handy with your notebook, and both of my girls really love theirs.
They are as easy to keep clean as the stand up pen cases, so if you do get pen marks on them, they can easily be wiped and they are as good as new. I wouldn’t hesitate to rate both the Book Bands and Pen Cases at 5/5 – they are superb quality, packaged beautifully so would make a lovely gift, and are really rather quirky and are great fun. We are all delighted with them, and hopefully they will make returning to school in September a bit more of an appealing prospect!
For more information or to buy visit www.giftgivingallwrappedup.co.uk.