Online and in the shops

Big value in school pens

Online and in the shops

The cost of sending children back to school is putting huge pressure on parents with costs rising to over €1,000 for families with two or three children. Every little saving helps and it pays to shop around for good deals. Easons, who ran a 10% off schoolbooks promotion until July, get top marks for value at the moment for stationery like packs of pens — this Eason Combination Writing Set with pens and highlighters is €4.99 — and Crayola, with a 12-pack of Twistable crayons, €2.99. Stationery available at

‘Frozen’ scores with school bags

Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale ‘The Snow Queen’, Disney’s Oscar-winning hit Frozen has become the highest-grossing animated film of all time since its release before Christmas, so it’s no surprise it’s a popular choices for girls this year for pencil cases, schools bags, and so on. This Frozen insulated lunch bag, €10, has a padded carrying handle and a name tag at the bottom, while the matching bottle, €6, has a flip-top drinking spout, available from Heatons;

Save the Planet lunch bags are insulated

Another option for little ones who like retro prints — and for their big sisters and mammies — are Save The Planet lunch bags, €5.95, which come in a variety of stylish prints. There’s also a bigger storage bag, €6.50, great for packing away also those summer clothes (sigh!) — and they are all made from 90% recycled plastic bottles. The insulated lunch bags are soft, so lots of different items and odd shapes can be fitted in, and they are easy to wipe clean and fold for storage. You can also get little matching square snack pots, good for chopped fruit and veg (or baby weaning), €3.95, and flasks for older children, €14.95;

Family weekend at Dublin Zoo

But there are still a few weeks of holidays left and time for some more days out with the kids. If you are planning a special treat, Freddy Fyffes, sponsors of the Gorilla Rainforest at Dublin Zoo, is hosting a family weekend there tomorrow and Sunday, complete with magic shows, clowns, stilt walkers, face painting and special keeper talks;

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