Poundland Back To School Review

3 August 2011

poundlandBackToSchool1 August is upon us.

Hopefully that will mean long, warm (at the very least please) summer days and the sanity-saving knowledge that before long children up and down the land, dressed in shiny new uniforms clutching newly stocked pencil cases, will be heading back to school for a new academic year.

School uniform can be hideously expensive, particularly if your child(ren) goes to a school that insists on every item being emblazoned with the school motto.

We don't want you to have to extend the financial agony any further than necessary, so we happily agreed to review some Back to School items from Poundland.

Following a quick rummage through the Poundland Back to School stash that arrived in the PlayPennies office, we duly sent it off to PlayPennies mum Ellen, to review.

"Various Back to School stationery items arrived from Poundland for me to test," says Ellen, "You know, the usual suspects: pens, pencil cases, pads of paper and notebooks etc.  It was tricky to know where to start really, so I just dived in."

Pencil Case Set - £1

poundlandBackToSchoolPencilCaseSetThe first thing Ellen chose to look at was this pencil case set.

It includes a pencil case, two pencils, one sharpener, one ruler and one rubber (or eraser if you prefer, but they were always rubbers when I was at school).

"The case is plastic and fairly robust," Ellen describes.

"I shook it, threw it, filled it and did it again. The case broke in two but slotted back together in a hearbeat, making it ideal for mad kids at school."

"The sharperner good enough to create a 'sharpening worm' and the ruler is solid."

A sharpening worm?!  We giggled when we read that in the PlayPennies office, we'd never heard of a sharpening worm before.

Ellen gave the pencil case set 9/10 for value and 8/10 for quality.

If you don't like the look of the stripy set then it's also available in a floral pattern.

Folder Carry Pack - £1

poundlandBackToSchoolCarryFoldersNext out of the Poundland Back to School parcel were these A4 Carry Folders.

"There are two A4 carry folders to a pack," explains Ellen, "and they're made from soft, thin plastic with the same geometric pattern as the pencil case set."

Ellen wasn't overly impressed with these, giving them just 6/10 for value and 7/10 for quality.

"There was something about the A4 carry folders that wasn't quite right for me," she confesses. "I found they felt cheap and I wasn't a fan of the way they closed or worked. They're great for carrying loose pages or small documents but not great wads of paper."

A5 Notebook (two pack) - £1

poundlandBackToSchoolNoteBookI'm a sucker for notebooks; there's something about lots of blank pages just waiting to be written on that just 'does it' for me.

The two A5 hardback notebooks were the next items on Ellen's hit-list.

"The A5 notebooks come in a variety of colours," Ellen tells us.

If you like that geometric stripe design then you can have A5 notebooks to match.

Ellen reports that the notebooks have lined pages that are of average quality  and firmly suggests the avoidance of felt tipped pens unless you want the ink to leak through to the other side.

She goes on to say, "They are very handy for taking notes though, and for kids to draw pictures in and practise their writing."

Ellen gives the A5 notebooks 6/10 for quality and 8/10 for value.

Cats Five Roller Ball Stamper Pens - £1

poundlandStamperPensPens are one of my other stationery weaknesses although, it has to be said, I'm talking more posh fountain pens rather than cutesy stamper pens.

"These roller ball stamper pens are fab!" enthuses Ellen.

"You get cute spots and flowers designs as part of the Poundland Cats range and there are five pens in a pack."

Ellen's daughter recently had a birthday party and she split these into goodie bags for a birthday party, they were a HUGE hit apparently.

"The front is a pen and the back is a rollerball stamp," Ellen explains. "You can roll it to create patterns and images and each pen has a different pattern.

Ellen does think that the quality is a little bit 'dodgy' as you can't really tell what the stamps are and the ink will run out pretty quickly.  But she does conceded that for £1 you really can't go too far wrong as the kids loved them so much.

Ellen scores the stamper pens with 7/10 for quality, 10/10 for a great idea and 9/10 for value.

Cats Stationery Set - £1

poundlandBackToSchoolCatsStationerySetThere was another stationery set in the Poundland Back to School parcel that Ellen received, this one was in the same Cats theme as the roller ball stamper pens.

The Cats Stationery Set is slightly different, contents wise, from the stripy stationery set.

It has has a small notebook, three coloured pencils, a sharpener and rubber and a large notebook."

Ellen says this is excellent value for money, "The notebook is ringbound and has gorgeous motif on it; I love it!"

For value, Ellen gives the Cats Stationery set 9/10 for value and 8/10 for quality.

Cats A4 Drawing Pad - £1

poundlandBackToSchoolCatsDrawingPadEllen admits she's in two minds about this Cats A4 drawing pad.

"It's funny because the above items include so much stuff for £1 - five pens, tins of stationary etcetera, as a result I want to give this little pad a bad rap as it is made from poor quiality paper and is really a bit bland.  BUT," Ellen continues, "when you compare it to any other paper pads it is a total bargain!"

It has the Cats pattern on the front and 65 pages of thin off-white paper, "The paper tears easily," says Ellen, "and the ink of felt tipped pens will go straight through it and show on the other side."

Ellen gives the A4 Cats drawing pad an 8/10 for value and a 5/10 for quality.

Mini Cooler Bag - £1

poundlandBackToSchoolMiniCoolerBagWe all love this little mini cooler bag here in the PlayPennies office; Ellen loved it too, she's been using it as a lunch box for summer and is utterly smitten by it.

"It keeps fruit and sarmies nice and fresh and is just too cute for words!"

The only thing she's not happy with is the velcro fastening; she feels it could be much stronger.

It is possible that Ellen just happened to get a mini cooler bag with a weak bit of velcro, but if you like your Velcro to have the gripping strength of Superman then you could always replace it with some that's a little more robust.

"Other than that," she says, "it is great and roomy and ideal for a packed lunch. It's not compartmentalised so food has to be neatly stacked but really this isn't such a trial. It's my favourite thing from Poundland to date!"

Ellen gives the mini cooler bag 8/10 for  quality and 10/10 for value.

And finally...

On the whole, Ellen felt that most things from Poundland were okay.

The paper used for the notebooks and the pads weren't great quality, but then for £1 no one expects deliciously thick, pristine white paper and she appreciates that fact.

She felt the stationery sets offered good value for money and whilst she wasn't sure about the stamper pens, the children who received them in their party bags thought they were great!

The clear winner of the Poundland Back to School items, that Ellen reviewed for us, was the mini cooler bag and we have to agree - the bright spotty design is fun, it's practical and for just one of our Great British pounds is a total bargain.

Ellen's final conclusion:

"With some of the Poundland items, you get what you pay for - ie the notebooks and drawing pad - but with others, like the mini cooler bag, it's a complete win!"

www. poundland.co.uk

TOPICS:   Product Reviews

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