September – A Month of Change!

Call the Midwife Blanket

September has been a huge month of change for us all here at Dottycraft! It’s certainly been busy. It’s been fun, and different, and exciting and a bit scary – but we’ve almost got through it!

Starting School

Little G has started in reception. This is perhaps the biggest change of all! She’s been so excited all Summer about going to “big school” and the day finally came! So with her new uniform on, shiny new shoes and a smile on her face, she trotted in to school for the first time! She was nervous of course, but had a great time and so far (nearly 4 weeks in) she is doing amazingly well! She’s been tired, and apprehensive, and we’ve had the odd complaint of tummy ache – but she has always overcome it, shown resilience and gone in without a tear and then told us the fun she has had.

It’s such a massive change – even though she spent a whole year full time at preschool, school itself is a very different ball game! So many children, so many new routines, a different environment, less adult supervision and just generally alot to take in at once. But I’m so proud of how she is doing, and I love to hear her stories at the end of the day.

We are still perfecting the art of a new morning routine, but so far we have managed to get out of the door and at the school gates on time.

A New Job

In amongst all of the fun of starting school, I also started a new job at the beginning of September! Going back full-time after nearly 5 years! It’s also taking a bit of getting used to, and I am missing being able to be so hands-on with Little G whilst she is transitioning to school. But it will be worth it for us as a family, and we will all cope. So far, I’m enjoying it, and it is a lot less stressful than my previous job. So although I am doing more hours, I am generally feeling more rested and more present when I am at home.

Of course both these things have meant I haven’t had much time to blog! But hopefully as we start to get into a new little routine, I’ll be able to post more. I’ve got some post ideas written down, so I just need to find the time and the motivation to sit and write them. I’d also like to start an instagram, but we’ll see… right now I don’t want to commit to too many things at once.

 

Crafting Update

When I can get a spare few minutes, I have been working on some little bits and pieces. Mainly crochet blankets. I absolutely love making them, even though I haven’t really got any ideas in mind of who they will be for. But I enjoy the often very repetitive patterns (which means I don’t have to focus on counting stitches quite so much). I also love watching them grow, and experimenting with colours.

Call The Midwife Blanket

Call the Midwife Blanket

I made this one a little while ago actually, but thought I would share it as I just love how it looks. It does take a bit more focus due to the nature of the pattern, but it is easy to follow, and once I got into my groove with this one I thoroughly enjoyed it. I also love how it works up with variegated yarns… and I’ve got some more stashed away to make some in different colourways. There are hardly any ends to sew in too, which is an added bonus!

For those that might not know, this is inspired by a blanket which is featured in the TV series “Call the Midwife”.

I used Knitcraft Baby Yarn for this blanket, and a 4mm hook. The pattern can be found over at Little Monkey’s Crochet.

 

Granny Square Blanket

GrannySquare GrannySquare2

I started this one over the Summer, and after putting it down for a little bit, managed to finish it off a couple of weeks ago. I love the colours in this one, it reminds me of Neapolitan Ice Cream! I did have a bit of a blip in one corner though, so had to think of a way to cover it up. So I decided to crochet some heart motifs to sew on, and I think it works quite well. I’ve never really added motifs to blankets before – I quite like the effect though. It also works great to cover up any mistakes!

This one is made with Bonus DK and a 4mm hook – and is just a simple granny square continued until I reached the size I wanted.

 

Autumn Cosy Stripe

Wool Haul CosyStripe

My dad recently gave me some money to spend on myself. So of course, I spent some of it on yarn. I’ve been wanting to make another cosy stripe blanket for a while, and decided to try an Autumn colour scheme. I usually go for pastel or bright colours, so this is a little bit out of my comfort zone….

But I’m loving how it’s working up so far – this is one of my absolute favourite blanket patterns. The Cosy Stripe is such a simple pattern, yet so effective and can look so amazingly different in different colours. It’s totally worth having a good look around the brilliant patterns over at Attic24 – you will not be disappointed! 🙂

I also used Lolly’s Lil Wool Shack for the first time – their wool is brilliant and such good value! For the autumn cosy stripe I am using the Armoni aran rolls range.

I’m working on this blanket whenever I can at the moment. Hopefully I’ll finish it up by the time the weather really changes! Although I don’t think that is too far away…

 

It really has been a busy September! But mostly in good ways! And I’m pleased to have been able to crack on with a bit of crafting in between all the busy-ness the last few weeks has brought. Now that the nights are drawing in, I’m sure I’ll get more cosy crafting time.

Love,

Sarah x

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8 Things I’ve Learned About School Uniform Shopping

Little G starts Reception in just over a week, so I have been school uniform shopping over the past few weeks (months) in preparation for September. As it’s our first time doing the uniform hunting, here are some of the things I have learned about the process:

Start Early

Sounds so simple doesn’t it? Start shopping for uniform early. We found out mid-April which Primary school G had been allocated a place at. So once I had that email (and after I had finished dancing about in glee that we had been allocated a place at our first choice school) I started shopping. Just little bits here and there. Polo shirts on the supermarket run. Socks when I was on a lunch break. This helped me be organised, make sure I had the pick of the sizes, and also meant I had spread the cost a bit. Because trust me, it soon adds up!!!

Know Your Uniform

This one is so important! After all I didn’t want G turning up on her first day with the wrong colour polo shirt on. Your school, if it has a uniform, should have a very clear guide on what the uniform is, and whether it is compulsory. For us, it is compulsory. But they are fairly flexible in the colours you can choose for skirts/trousers/socks/shoes/PE kit etc. The only real thing to stick to is white polo shirts and burgundy jumpers/cardigans. But even then, the jumpers don’t have to have the logo on (and this is worth checking, as most supermarkets do jumpers in all the main school colours now, so you can save a fortune). School shoes too – check the policy on these. As long as they are black or brown, our school allows the children to wear either shoes or trainers. So again, a bit of flexibility 🙂

I made a note on my phone of the uniform list, so I always had it with me – this really helped when I was out and about and saw something – as I could check if it would be allowed.

Make the Most of When Discounts/Sales Are On

This one kind of ties in with starting early. I tried to keep an eye on when discounts/sales were on – for example Sainsburys often have their 25% off TU during school half terms, so I got a few bits during half term. For next year, I’ll do the same, and keep a note of when the sales are coming up. Now I know what I’m buying (See uniform code) it’ll be easier.

I have to say, Sainsburys have been fantastic for school uniform for us this year – such great prices, and so much choice. I am really impressed. The only thing they didn’t do were the burgundy jumpers and cardigans, but I think everything else I bought from Sainsburys.

Look in Places You Wouldn’t Always Think Of

When you think of uniform shopping, it’s usually the same places… Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, and now the supermarkets. I’ve trawled round them all over the last few months. But it’s also worthwhile just keeping an eye out everywhere you go. For example, I got a fantastic school coat for G from Mountain Warehouse. I just went in without uniform in mind, and they had some great discounts on the coats. I only really went in to kill some time, but it was very much worth it!

Share Tips with Your Mum/Dad Friends

Ahhh everyone is all out shopping for uniform. Hurriedly looking for the deals and the right sizes and the right coloured jumper. If you find a great deal, or somewhere local that has the stuff in your kid’s classmates will likely need, shout about it! We have a Facebook group for parents of new starters, and also a Whatsapp group – so I would often post little PSA’s in case it they were useful to anyone else! And they would do the same, so I got some great tips too!

School Shoes Are Expensive!!

Need I really say more? The only thing I will say on this, is leave these until the end of the holidays; G’s feet had grown by the time we got measured last week so I’m really glad I waited!

Be Prepared to Feel Emotional

When we tried G’s uniform on, although I was excited, it made me tear up. My little baby has grown up so much, and seeing her in her new uniform made her look even more grown up but so small at the same time. It’s hard to explain. You’ll know what I mean when you do it. It’s a reminder that in just over a week, our lives will change forever, and she will no longer be completely mine. *sniff*

Buy Pre-Printed Name Labels

Honestly, these were worth every penny. OK, so I still burned my hand on the iron, but at least I didn’t have to faff about writing names on them all like I remember my Mum doing in a massive rush the night before term started. I bought a set of pre-printed stickers, that you just iron straight on. It was really simple, and the names won’t fade or rub off in the wash. As they are all typed too, there’s no chance of teachers realising just how terrible my handwriting is when G loses her shorts on her first PE lesson! Ha!

 

Getting school ready has been an interesting journey – and a pretty expensive one! But, a week before term starts and we are all done and dusted. All labelled up and ready to go. Well, the uniform is, and Little G is. Me however, I’m not quite sure I’m ready for it yet….

 

Love,

Sarah xx

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