Back To School

The start of a new school year can be an overwhelming time for any child at any age. Whether starting a new school or moving up a grade, many experience excitement and anticipation, whilst others can find the change stressful and worrying. Key to making a happy healthy transition from beach to classroom is tip top organisation.

We grilled two super-organised mums, Nicole @threelittlefaures and Claire Farac @ClaireCandice, for their best tips for easing into the school year. From the perfect lunch box to the most effective family wall planner, here is everything you need. And the best news? It’s all under one roof at Lakeside Joondalup.

Family Time Management

School events. Lunch menus. Music lessons. Sports carnivals. Make sure the whole family is on the same page by creating a centralised site for your family’s schedules. Track after-school activities, sports days and social dates with specialised calendars and schedules, and you have it: a one-stop shop for family time management.

“I currently use a fridge meal planner so everyone knows meals for the week, and a day-to-a-page planner for family, business and work life,” says Claire, mum to Ayla who is starting Year 1 and Oscar 2.

“A wall planner works well too. Simply give each family member a column to add their activities. Easy!”

We love:

New Shoes

“My best tip for buying new school shoes, is to head to Lakeside Joondalup and try on as many pairs as possible,” says Claire. “We like to pick a quality shoe so it lasts and fits well. Ayla is not confident about tying laces yet, so we look for slip-on sneakers with elastic laces or Velcro close.”

Ayla loves:

School Supplies

Freshly sharpened pencils and crisp pages epitomise a brand-new school year. “My girls LOVE stationary,” says Nicole, mum to Matilda 10, Ruby 8, and Hudson 5. “Every year they choose a brand-new pencil case from Smiggle. They are great quality, last the whole year, feature a customisable name display, and two zipped compartments that makes them super roomy. They even fit a 30cm ruler!”

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It’s time to farewell holiday hair, be it this season’s trending mullet to a grown-out bob. “We head to Just Cuts for our back-to-school trims,” says Nicole. “They pop a DVD on which is great for Mr 5 who hates getting his hair cut! The girls have a trim and soft layers and Hudson gets a style cut.”

Stock up on products that are gentle on hair and protect against chlorine, saltwater and UV rays. “I always buy a leave-in treatment that keeps hair moisturised and nourished,” she says. “We love the styling clay for Hudson’s hair. It lasts all day and keeps his hair, in his words, spunky!”

Our picks:

Lunch Time

Keep lunches healthy and fun using Claire’s must-have - food cutters. “They are great for sandwiches, fruit and veggies,” she says. “You can use regular cookie cutters or specialty cutters. The kids love them!”

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“I’m often asked what lunch boxes I choose and I always recommend the Sistema Bento range from Big W,” says Nicole. “It has five compartments and plenty of room. It’s dishwasher safe too. Winning!”

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Keeping drinks ice cold all day can be challenging, especially during the height of summer. “I always use metal drink bottles,” Claire says. “They are super effective for keeping water chilled all day.”

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Sick of vegemite sandwiches? Get inventive in the kitchen. “One of my fave school lunches is my special Zucchini Slice,” says Nicole. “It’s easy to make, filling and perfect for fussy eaters. My kids love it once a week instead of sandwiches and see it as a treat. If only they knew how healthy it is!”

Nicole’s Zucchini Slice

• 5 eggs
• 375g zucchini
• 2 grated carrots
• 3 bacon rashers
• 1 onion
• 1 cup self-raising flour
• 1 cup cheese (grated)
• 1/2 cup oil
• salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). In a bowl, whisk eggs. Grate zucchini and carrot coarsely. Finely chop onion and bacon.

Combine zucchini, onion, bacon, cheese, sifted flour, oil and lightly beaten eggs.

Season with salt and pepper and pour into well-greased lamington tin.

Bake in moderate oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until browned.