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On Lazy Jacks – Review

**Disclosure – I received these tops to review free of charge, but Lazy Jacks did not tell me what to write, or ask me to mention anything specific. As always, I write as I find**

I’ll come right out with it – you’ve probably already spotted from photos on the blog that I’m a big fan of Lazy Jacks clothes, so I was absolutely over the moon when I was asked to review some items from their Autumn/Winter 2013 children’s range. Of course, I’m a teensy disappointed that once I hit ‘publish’,  several thousand* LearnerMother readers will be in on the secret too, but on the bright side, that practically makes me a fashion commentator, right? *preens, awaits the call from Anna W*

Well, she’s quite busy, you know. And there’s a time difference, she’s probably asleep. So while I wait for the call that will surely come, how about I tell you a bit more about this small, independent brand.

Based in Devon,  Lazy Jacks is a family firm which started out back in 2002 with just one design. Though the range has grown over the years, the quality has not been compromised – I can vouch for this as a longtime customer. Eleven years later, the Lazy Jacks catalogue includes brilliant quality hoodies, sweats, tees and fleeces for adults and children – and not only do they look great, but they last the distance. I know, when I buy my kids Lazy Jacks tops, that they’ll get a couple of years of abuse out of them (I buy big) and they’ll still be hand-on-able to my sisters’ kids.

Here’s a few pictures of the kids putting the tops through their paces at Ogmore Beach today. As you can see the tops are great for this time of year – warm and breathable, but also they look brilliant – the colours are strong and deep, and the Lazy Jacks branding is distinctive without being overwhelming. You can see a few more shots of the clothes in action on a colder and blustery day here, and I’ve also requested some catalogue images which I’ve put at the bottom of the post, so you can see the tops more clearly.

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I already know that Lazy Jacks clothes wash well, even on repeated hot cycles. Why do I know it? Because here’s a picture of an older Lazy Jacks, looking, well, pretty normal after a day’s wear on my littlest.


After a couple of years of this sort of treatment, I have to say it still looks pretty good after washing. Obviously, having only had the new tops for a couple of weeks, they’ve only gone in the machine about 83 times so far (please tell me it’s not just my kids???) so I can’t give you a long term report; but early signs are that they’re as hard wearing as previous seasons’ offerings.

All in all, I’d say that Lazy Jacks clothes are well worth the price tag. These tops all retail at around the £30 mark, which to be honest is more than I spend on any other item of kids clothing. But because I know I will get two full years wear out of them and still be able to pass down, I think it’s well worth paying that bit more than for ‘high street hoodies’ which will be fraying at the edges after a few hot washes.

So, where can you get them? Lazy Jacks are available in independent shops throughout Devon and beyond, though if you’re not lucky enough to live in the South West your best bet is probably to order from their online shop at www.lazyjacks.co.uk. Service is good, delivery is fast and returns/exchanges are no fuss. If you’re a fan of high quality, practical clothing that looks great, I’d definitely recommend you give Lazy Jacks a try – and not just for your kids!

*maybe not  several thousand. Though my stats have gone up a bit lately, so possibly, say, five?

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 Family Fever

March 2014 – linking up with my new discovery ‘Tried and Tested Tuesday’ over at FamilyFever – why not head over for some other ‘tried and tested’ posts!

On the Oxotots screwdriver

I have about a million ‘could do betters’ in my mental Scorecard of Motherhood. But today, I have one less! I have banished the battery blues AT LONG LAST!

I don’t know if anyone else is like me, but I never seem to be on top of keeping batteries in everything that should have batteries. Either I don’t have the batteries in, or I can’t find them, or – more commonly – because I am in the middle of doing something else whenever one or the other child comes to me bearing a sad, battery-less toy. Like trying to get them all out of the door for school/nursery, or cooking for the ungrateful wretches. And even if all the optimum conditions for battery changing are met, I usually fall at the final hurdle – the precision tools required. When I was a kid, you only needed a very sharp nail, or sometimes a 1p piece, to get into battery compartments. Now for some reason – probably to do with Health, Safety and Avoiding Lawsuits, you need a screwdriver. And not a normal screwdriver either – some of the screws on these toys are the size of about half an atom. That’s probably to do with Health, Safety and Avoiding Lawsuits too – seriously, even an ant couldn’t choke on those little suckers.

So I was very excited to receive THIS through the post yesterday from the good folk from Oxotots…it looks like a pen and is about the same size, but it’s actually a miniscrewdriver with four different screwheads – neat, huh?


Admittedly I am a crap photographer but I think you get the idea – the screwdriverybits are so small as to be almost invisible to my aged squinting eyes, but PERFECT for things like Hexbugs, below.


I also discovered that the screwdriverybits (it’s a WORD, ok!) are magnetic which saved an awful lot of scrabbling around for lost screws, and probably a fair bit of swearing too – plus gave me the bonus opportunity to explain (badly) to no 1 son the properties of magnets. DOUBLE MOTHERING POINTS  for me then for including a secret educational session – I’m loving this screwdriver more by the minute…

Of course, it didn’t stop there. The call went out and suddenly a collection of toys appeared, all of which now have sparkly new batteries in them – and double bonus – my glasses aren’t held together with sellotape any more either, because this little beauty works for them too! Of course, the down side is that the Husband is threatening to leave home because of all the electronic yodelling, singing, squawking noises that are now unleashed every time someone even looks at a toy. Oh well, can’t win ’em all!

IMG_1279Some of the happy creatures!

AVAILABILITY – The 4-in-1 mini screwdriver (around £7),  along with a bunch of other cool OxoTots baby/toddler stuff, can be found  in John Lewis, Lakeland, House of Fraser, JojoMamanBebe and various other outlets – find your closest here.

DISCLOSURE – The Oxotot 4-in-1 Mini Screwdriver was given to me free of charge.

On Legoland Windsor – the good, the awesome, the bad and the ugly.


We are back! Amazingly, the kids did not have a clue – we woke them up early ‘to go swimming before it gets too busy’ and bless them, they bought it hook, line and sinker. Until we hit the M4, when ‘Daddy’s short cut’ just didn’t cut it any more. It was lovely listening to them wondering where we were going – in fact it made for such a peaceful journey that I am thinking of making all trips mystery ones from now on!

So – the good. To be fair – this was most of it – Legoland does what it does really well, there was plenty to keep all of them happy – and the kids are close enough in age, that they all wanted to go on pretty much the same things. My favourite was the ‘Atlantis Experience’, where you get to go in a ‘submarine’ alongside sharks, rays, and all manner of sealife – and it was warm! One benefit of the weather being absolutely fecking freezing was that there were no queues for anything at all – which meant that by the time the kids got too cold to stay outdoors, they’d done enough rides that they were happy to head back to the hotel.

We’d booked early enough to get a really good deal at the Lego Hotel in the park – this proved to be a good move, as after coming in from the park we were able to take the kids into the pirate pool – with all the watershooters and fountains any kid (or Dad) could want. The hotel itself was brilliantly set up for kids, with a massive lego pit in reception, a pretty big play castle area in the main dining area and – my kids favourite – a whoopee cushion in the carpet. Hours of fun for them all – and, er, Dad.

The awesome – well, the awesome has to be the rooms. We’d booked a Pirate Room, and it was fab! The designers really had gone to town, with everything very properly pirate indeed. There was even a treasure hunt for the kids, giving them a code which opened a pirate treasure chest with lego goodies in. And someone had thoughtfully put a box of Duplo in the room for the three year old – a wasted effort since he scorns any baby versions of toys, but a good thought all the same! Here they are in their pirate alcove. By the way, they are absolutely not watching TV so I can have 5 minutes peace – no siree, I’m a much better mother than that. They are admiring the pirate wallpaper. But there is also a TV, right where they are looking, just in case you wanted to know.

The bad – well, the bad was the cold. And there isn’t that much that the lego gods can do about that, so we’ll let that pass.

And the ugly. I’m afraid there was an ugly, and it was the food – or rather the food prices. After our first trip to Legoland back in 2009, I wrote a review somewhere (I can’t find it now) that said something like ‘the food isn’t that great, but it’s not terrible, and it’s not as overpriced as you might expect’. Well, the food is still in ‘not great, but not terrible’ territory. But look at the prices:


That’s £45 for a very average lunch for a family of 5 – three of whom are aged 7 or under! A similar deal in Pizza Hut would have set us back £26. But the kids were cold, and hungry, so I gulped and paid. And it was more of the same in the hotel in the evening – £18.95 for adults, and £9.95 for children, for a Harvester style buffet, plus drinks on top, if the adults among you don’t fancy Coke, lemonade or fizzy orange. Nearly £70 seemed a lot to me – so we took an executive decision to pile the kids into the car and try our luck in Windsor. We ended up in Nandos, because it seemed unstuffy enough to cope if the kids had a meltdown – since it was the first time we’d EVER braved an evening meal out with the three of them, we figured it might be wise to play it safe. It was a great success actually – and it came in at £50, though to be fair a tenner of that was beer for the adults. That is to say, the adults not including the designated driver, so, umm, me. Well anyway. It was far better value than the hotel. And the kids loved it, as you can see by the exemplary behaviour of the biggest one.


So, there you are. The good, the awesome, the bad and the ugly. I’d definitely recommend Legoland – it’s great value, especially if you do some hunting around for discount deals. And paying extra to stay in the Lego hotel is a sensible investment at any time of year, given the uncertainty of the weather in these parts. But if it’s warm enough, pack a picnic for the daytime, and then eat out in the evening, or you’ll end up with a ginormous hole in your pocket.