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I'm not going to lie, I'm thrilled, even a tad excited that a new term is about to begin. Call me a mean mum, in fact, call me anything you like, all I am guilty of is being honest about my elation that my children are soon to return to school.

I know that's unlike the many tiger mums at the school gates, the ones who claim they feel exhilarated with love, freedom and god knows what else when their kids break up from school for the summer.

Spending almost seven weeks entertaining children 24/7 is hard work. I often forget to drink, I sometimes forget to eat (silver lining!) or do anything that seems remotely selfish, like going to the toilet unaccompanied by a small troop of mini-mes.

I admit, parenting is a challenge both physically and emotionally. However, parenting during the school holidays reaches new heights in testing adult calmness. With every week that passes I find the tone of my voice getting higher pitched, which I'm sure my neighbours can vouch for.

So it seems apt given my excitement about geting my life back on track, that I dedicate my feature this week to the little rascals in our lives. Come Monday morning, I'll be up at the crack of dawn, ready to wave goodbye to my three musketeers as they set off for a new chapter in their education. Nerves are obviously expected, mixed in with eagerness to see their friends and of course their readiness to show off their new stationery buys that took over an hour to choose at WHSmith and Paperchase and then back again at WHSmith!!

If you have left it to the last minute to equip the family, here are some hot buys that are sure to excite the children ahead of their first day back at school.

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