Making progress with Gel-a-Peel #DesignADiary

For the last five months since Eva started at primary school, we have had tears every single morning without fail. And I’m not talking about a few, forced out tears to tug on my heart strings, or a couple of bad days here and there, it has literally been full on hysterics before we have even left the house, sobbing for hours in her bed each night, and begging and pleading with me not to send her to school each morning. And, as a parent, it has been incredibly tough to still prise her little hand from mine and hand her over each day when everything inside of me was crying out to snatch her up in my arms and take her back home.

As the Christmas holidays came to an end I began to feel that familiar sense of panic in the pit of my stomach, torn between enjoying my happy, care free little girl again and agonising over how difficult it would be on that first Monday of the new term, to watch her revert back to that sad little girl with her wobbly bottom lip and those eyes that begged me not to leave her. And, as I suspected, that first day back was unbelievably hard, having had such a lovely time together over the Christmas holidays, and I would have given anything to be able to keep her at home and hold on to my happy little girl for a while longer.

So when we were asked to take part in the #DesignADiary Gel-a-Peel campaign, to decorate a diary for 2017, I thought perhaps this was something that Eva and I could enjoy together, a way to concentrate on getting through each school day and counting down until the weekends.

By colour coding each date in the diary, green for a school day and pink for weekend and school holidays, Eva was able to see at a glance just how many pink days lay ahead  at the turn of a page, and she instantly brightened up when she saw so many pink days ahead, especially over the Summer months! “Pink is my favourite colour and it means my favourite days at home!” she told me as she marked off the days.  I told her that for each day she did not cry in the morning, I would put a smiley face in her diary and, if she had a whole week full of smiley faces by the weekend, she would be allowed to choose a treat, something which never fails to bring out her competitive side!

Designing her diary was something that Eva was really excited about, having seen Gel-a-peel advertised on the TV, and she has been desperate to get her hands on it.  Gel-a-peel allows you to express yourself through your own creative designs, either by using the gel colour tubes to follow the template designs or to create your own ideas, perfect for my headstrong little girl.

Gel-A-Peel sticks to a range of surfaces, including fabric, paper and card, and dries after fifteen minutes to a soft, gel like substance leaving no mess.

Although Eva initially found it a little tricky to apply the gel, after a few practices she really got the hang of it and any mistakes can easily be wiped away when wet or peeled off when dry.

The set includes 3 sparkly gel-a-peel colour tubes, 16 templates, 5 designer tips, a clear drawing sheet, cleaning tool, and accessories to make earrings, bracelets and hairclips. The kit retail at £14.99 and having successfully decorated her diary, it was a huge hit with Eva.

The next morning, with the promise of a smiley face in her diary up for grabs, I reminded Eva of the treat she would get if she went into school without tears that morning. And, although she still refused to get in line with the other children, she willingly let go of my hand, planted a kiss on my lips and in she went. And that in itself was a miracle!

Over the course of the week we had mixed mornings, some days still a little reluctant to go into school, that bottom lip wobbling, her eyes brimming with tears but, defiant as ever, she refused to let them fall, so intent was she on claiming her prize at the end of the week. And after five smiley faces, and the promise of any treat she wanted, my sweet little girl asked for just one Kinder egg, and she was over the moon when Saturday came around and she claimed her prize.

The following week when she came home with Star of the Week, it goes without saying that I was the proudest Mummy in all the world.

And just days later, five long months, through tears and tantrums and so much worry and upset, all in her own time, this happened.

And by the end of the week, when she was running into the yard without a second look back, flashing me a cheeky little grin with a sparkle in her eye as she stood proudly in line with her friends, the only tears were mine.

Run Jump Scrap!
Cuddle Fairy


  1. January 31, 2017 / 11:55 pm

    Oh I’m so pleased to hear she’s had her epiphany and going in with a brighter outlook. Must have been such a relief for you after all this time. Hopefully it continues. So funny how it just takes 1 thing to click, but we have the struggle to find that positive trigger. Do come and link up to #schooldays.

    • Laura Dove
      February 1, 2017 / 9:25 am

      I am hugely relieved, will head over and link up now – thank you! xx

  2. February 1, 2017 / 8:20 am

    Oh Eva you really are a little star. What a great idea – I’m so glad it’s helped with what must be so difficult for you both. It’s awful to see our little ones upset so to find such a fun way to make the prospect of school enjoyable is genius on your part Mummy! As always beautiful pictures! xxx #bloggerclubuk

    • Laura Dove
      February 1, 2017 / 9:24 am

      Thanks lovely, you won’t believe this though – she cried this morning! I’m hoping it was just a “blip”….fingers crossed! Aggghhhh!! xxx

  3. February 1, 2017 / 8:28 am

    It`s so hard just to imagine what it must have been like to have your little girl so upset and begging to be taken home. I hope Peachy is one of those children who are happy to go to school because I don`t think I could handle it. We`ll both be sobbing by the school doors. #bestandworst

    • Laura Dove
      February 1, 2017 / 9:23 am

      It was awful, and you wont believe that after writing this last night – she cried this morning!! I’m hoping that it was a one off, it has been so worrying and upsetting for everyone. I hope that Peachy is just fine! xx

  4. February 1, 2017 / 11:58 am

    What a lovely idea and so amazing that it has led to such a turn around for you both! xoxo

    • Laura Dove
      February 1, 2017 / 1:25 pm

      Thanks Talya, thank god for that! xx

  5. February 1, 2017 / 4:28 pm

    Aw how great that this helped Eva so much. She has a lovely smile, what a gorgeous little girl. I bet you worry less now you know she is happy

    • Laura Dove
      February 1, 2017 / 9:34 pm

      Thank you so much. Such a relief, although she did cry this morning after I wrote this! Typical! xx

  6. February 1, 2017 / 11:47 pm

    Oh Laura, I have tears in my eyes reading that! I can’t imagine how difficult it has been for you all, but how lovely to see that change in Eva. I would be so proud of her getting star of the week for becoming more independent too, so I’m not surprised you were. How cute that all she wanted was a Kinder Egg, it’s all in the innocence of children hey?!
    I’m glad things turned around for you both xx

    • Laura Dove
      February 2, 2017 / 11:33 am

      Thank you Amy. It has been SUCH a difficult 5 months, I had no idea it would be so tough, and I was so worried that I had lost our happy little girl. It’s such a pleasure to have her back, doing so well and actually smiling going in, and out, of school! xx

  7. February 2, 2017 / 6:27 am

    Eva looks so cute and happy, it was a really good idea 😀

    • Laura Dove
      February 2, 2017 / 11:31 am

      Thank you! I was just glad that something worked! xx

  8. February 2, 2017 / 8:56 am

    I love that sticker idea. Will use it with my kids. Good to know she is settling down gradually now.

    • Laura Dove
      February 2, 2017 / 11:28 am

      Thank you, finally!! It’s been a long 5 months! xx

  9. February 2, 2017 / 9:39 am

    Aw bless her that must have been heartbreaking watching her so upset about school. Decorating a diary sounds like such a great idea for her, this looks like a great creative product for little ones. xx

    • Laura Dove
      February 2, 2017 / 11:28 am

      It was awful but this seemed to work for Eva, thank god! Kids love anything crafty, my girls go crazy for it! xx

  10. February 2, 2017 / 11:25 am

    Oh bless her, my heart strings were pulled reading this. I remember it so well. I love how she has created her own diary and personalised it. I’m glad she seems more settled x

    • Laura Dove
      February 2, 2017 / 11:35 am

      Ahh thank you. It has been such a long time coming, thank god she is finally happier there! xx

  11. February 2, 2017 / 11:45 am

    Popping back over from #coolmumclub lovely thanks for linking this up xoxo

  12. February 2, 2017 / 1:20 pm

    Wow, that’s amazing. It took two years for my son to stop crying or clinging on to me in the playground, it was horrendous. This is such a good idea, well done x

  13. February 2, 2017 / 8:30 pm

    Awww it mustve been heartbreaking to see her so upset. Im glad you found a solution that works for the both of you and she’s so much happier now! Seems like the gel pens saved your sanity!

  14. February 2, 2017 / 8:34 pm

    What a cuties, and what fun this looks like. I will be gutted when Leanora starts school, I think I”ll have to enroll myself in lol! x

  15. February 2, 2017 / 8:57 pm

    Oh I’m sooo pleased as remember how hard this was in a previous post. Bless her, a nifty trick and I hope the award keeps her focused and happier at school. Thanks for sharing with #bestandworst

  16. February 2, 2017 / 9:06 pm

    This is just the best thing ever for both you and Eva. It wasn’t an easy 5 months for either of you and I am so pleased that you found something that made Eva feel more happy about going. Giving her that confidence to skip into school all on her own. Such a simple idea, but one that works. I know that Alice would love this too, she loves anything that looks like she is grown up. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove x

  17. February 3, 2017 / 1:26 pm

    I am glad to hear that Eva has settled at school. It took such a long time for Isaac to that we thought it would be a neverending battle

    • Laura Dove
      February 6, 2017 / 11:05 am

      We had tears again this week, I’m hoping we are back to smiles tomorrow! xx

  18. Katy - Hot Pink Wellingtons
    February 3, 2017 / 4:47 pm

    I’m so so pleased she’s turned the corner, I know it’s been such a long time coming and I can only imagine how stressful and heartbreaking it must have been for you both. It’s funny how it’s always the simple things that really motivate kids – I love her design on the front, and how cute is it that the thing she wanted more than anything was just a kinder egg?! Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

    • Laura Dove
      February 6, 2017 / 11:04 am

      Thanks Katy. Kids and kinder eggs hey? Who knew? We did have tears this morning, I think mondays are always hard work! xx

  19. February 4, 2017 / 11:13 am

    It’s so tough when they don’t settle well at school, I think little tricks like this can work wonders and the diary sounds like it worked a treat

    • Laura Dove
      February 6, 2017 / 11:02 am

      Fingers crossed it keeps working, today there were tears! xx

  20. February 4, 2017 / 4:42 pm

    Oahu must be so pleased! What a happy face! It’s great that something just twigged and she can also have something that you both do together, and seeing her pink days was a brilliant idea! Well done, and a what a fun sounding product too X

    • Laura Dove
      February 6, 2017 / 11:00 am

      So happy! Although this morning was difficult, but who likes mondays? xx

  21. February 5, 2017 / 3:02 pm

    Hi Laura, how wonderful that Eva is finally settling down in school. The diary with its colour coded days must be a help allowing her to visually count the green days away. I think I could have some fun with the peel away gel too. Fingers crossed things get even easier for her (and you).

    Thank you for linking up to the #MMBC.


    • Laura Dove
      February 6, 2017 / 10:49 am

      Thanks Debbie, we had a bad morning today but mondays are hard work! xx

  22. February 5, 2017 / 9:58 pm

    That’s so heartbreaking for you to have her so upset. I really hope my daughter goes to school ok next year! So good that you have found something that helps her, long may it continue! #KCACOLS

    • Laura Dove
      February 6, 2017 / 10:47 am

      Thank you, it has been a rough five months! I hope that your daughter settles well! xx

  23. February 7, 2017 / 9:07 am

    Ah I loved (still do) gel pens at school! I used to hoard them – do your remember the scented ones? Glad to see she is getting on well and is much happier! #stayclassymama

    • Laura Dove
      February 7, 2017 / 9:33 am

      Haha yes! They still do scented ones now, I’m surprised they haven’t been banned to be honest, encouraging kids to sniff things! We’ve had tears the last two mornings, hoping it’s another blip! xx

  24. February 7, 2017 / 11:00 am

    So glad it’s helped and so happy she’s settled more now. Well done super star! #BloggerClubUK

    • Laura Dove
      February 8, 2017 / 9:48 am

      Thank you Susie. xx

  25. February 13, 2017 / 12:05 pm

    She is absolutely beautiful. Well done getting star of the week Eva!What a tough time for you both 🙁 So glad to hear she is now enjoying school. Thos gel-a-peel pens look like great fun, I know a little girl who would love them for her up-coming birthday- thanks! Thanks for linking up to #KCACOLS

    • Laura Dove
      February 13, 2017 / 7:55 pm

      Thank you so much. It’s been a tough five months but thankfully we are over the worst! xx

  26. February 14, 2017 / 2:07 pm

    My daughter loves Gel-a-peel what she loves most about it is the smell lol trust kids to come up with funny things they like about stuff!

    • Laura Dove
      February 14, 2017 / 2:24 pm

      Haha my girls actually commented that they liked the smell! How funny! xx

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