Yes you read the heading correctly. A tablecloth. When we first set out on this home education journey I made the rookie mistake of trying to buy a stack of educational goodies, I spent way too much, most of which we did not end up using all that much. But what I have learnt over the 5 years we have been doing this – there are some home education essentials that are not “educational goodies” as such but they are just as important. Making sure we all have Wellington’s through the year (including myself). There is nothing worse than being stuck indoors when it is wet and everyone needs to get out for a walk but you did not replace their wellington’s. I have also come to realize that a good-quality wipe clean tablecloth in our house is just as important as the proper wellies.
We have a small four seater kitchen table that is used a lot. We eat at the table, the kids use the table when we are baking, we do our art and crafts on the table, science experiments, messy play, anything really that requires a flat surface happens on our kitchen table. Very early on (when my daughter was about one) I invested in a lovely wipe clean tablecloth from Next (the red with white spots in the photo above). Seven years on and this tablecloth is still around. It still looks good, it has not faded and there are no stains on it (and believe me the kids have tried), the only thing is some small burn marks courteously of a magnifying glass and sunlight. But honestly 7 years and it still looks good on the table.
Last year I decided it was time to get another one (mainly because I wanted a change) but I was trying hard to save money so I bought a cheaper version from a different store. After a few weeks I gave up and put my old trusty seven-year red tablecloth back on. The cheaper version just did not wipe clean properly it was driving me mad as I was spend ages trying to scrub it clean. I tried another one, again total waste of time. Then my parents came to visit, my mom bought me one but just two weeks after she bought it for me it was stained (pasta sauce and no amount of scrubbing could get it out). So yet again my 7-year-old tablecloth went back onto my kitchen table. And I was by now a bit angry at myself. Because the cost of the three cheaper tablecloths was more than me buying myself a nice new one.
So a few weeks ago when we were in a Next store looking for some kiddie stuff I wandered up into their home section (just to have a look at some picnic goodies). And there right in front of me was a bunch of Next wipe clean table cloths in a variety of designs. My hubbie noticed me eyeing them out and strongly suggested that it was time I stopped buying my cheaper tablecloths and instead buy a decent one that will last. So I bought one and it only costs me £20 (Next Teal Geo PVC Tablecloth).
So what do I think ? I honestly have no idea if it will last seven years like my original Next one but it is much thicker and smoother than the cheaper versions I kept buying. So far pasta sauce has wiped off perfectly (as well as a bunch of other food), we have painted and crafted on it A LOT, we have done science experiments on it and already it is lasting better than my cheaper purchases.
Plus if I am totally honest for this home-ed mom who spends a lot of time with the kids around our kitchen table it is nice to have a change in colour and pattern on our kitchen table. And no I have not thrown my 7-year-old original Next tablecloth away, it is packed away because I do still like the red with white dots.
This post is just my personal frustrating experience of wasting money buying cheaper tablecloths. I was not asked to write this and all items mentioned in the post were purchased by members of my family.