Monday, 3 December 2012

Laptop lunches, the best lunchboxes ever

The Laptop Luncbox. Clockwise from top left: a popping candy chocolate lolly; grapes; fennel; ham sandwiches. Most of these inner boxes also have lids. But we never rarely feel the need to use them as the main lunch box has a lid that closes down on everything.


I need to warn you, immediately, that these lunchboxes are neither cheap, nor easy to get.

But they are worthwhile if you can get hold of one. Let me tell you about them.

Some years ago, in early 2008 to be precise, I was still co-founder, and a very active part of an excellent parenting website called I Want My Mum. It doesn't exist anymore as we shut it down last year. But it was a great place for collective wisdom.

When my eldest was due to start school, I asked the mums and dads on there what lunchboxes they'd recommend and a few of them said Laptop Lunchboxes. Which were, then, available to buy in the UK.

LLBs consist of a main lunch box with a lid, and in this are four other boxes, some with lids, some without. The whole lot sits in an insulated, zip up bag. The beauty of it is that it helps you think outside the box (yes, yes) with what you put in the lunchbox, and also you don't end up with loads of un-eco wrapping or loads of renegade plastic boxes. Of course, despite best intentions, our eldest still goes to school with sandwiches 99% of the time, but she also has crudites, potato salad, orange segments, grapes etc. They all fit beautifully inside and are protected from the disdain that a young child, quite rightly, treats its lunchbox. Her lunchbox (made mostly by her father) is a thing of beauty and the one I've photographed above is my youngest's first lunch made in her lunch box. It was incredibly boring but she wanted something fast to take on a great cycling expedition around the garden and it's the only photo I have. But imagine colourful wonderfulness spilling from every box and beautifully cut sandwiches that perfectly, perfectly fit the boxes and you'll get an idea of the care taken by my partner in making his daughter's lunch.

That first lunchbox cost about £25 as I remember. Not cheap but really good. It was so good I decided to buy us all one, but when I went to reorder, the website no longer did them and instead were offering frankly vastly inferior things that were little more than stacks of plastic boxes. I found LLBs in the States and emailed them. Good news! I could order direct from them! Bad news? With taxes and shipping it came to about £70.

It's a good lunch box, but not that good.

My youngest is due to start school in a year's time. My excellent friend and Godmother to one of my daughters, CC, was in American and due to come home for good. This was an excellent time to ask her if I could buy one and get it shipped to her and she could bring it back for me.

This is what happened and hence the youngest now has her own, and it cost £25-£30.

Of course, in the way of things, my eldest went through a stage of hating her lunch box and wanting one like everyone else. But now has come round to the fact that her lunch box is really cool and looks like new, after four years of continuous school service (she has a packed lunch every day, occasionally she will have soup in a food flask). This is something to remember when you buy something cheap that might not't last. I reckon I'd have spent more than that by now on replacement boxes.

So I know this is a bit of an annoying post, but look, we live in the world of travel and have foreign friends. If you are going to America, or live there or know someone who does and can get it shipped to them and they send it on to you,  this is feasible.

And these are really good lunch boxes.

The selection is a bit mind blowing, you can get just the bag, just the box etc; but the ones I got were in the Bento Kit (bag, box with compartments, knife and fork). And although the colourway we have isn't shown at present, this is identical to ours in all but colour: this one, with the bag with shoulder strap which I think is useful for children.

I had really good service from this company. There was a problem with my payment and a real person answered my emails and tried to help.

9 comments:

Lisa Durbin said...

I wrote something along similar lines a little while ago: http://www.sweetpotatochronicles.com/wordpress/2012/05/lisas-letters-home-sorta-kinda-bento-box/

I use those boxes and another one from Sisterna, which you can find at most supermarkets. Those look much nicer, though!!

Annalisa Barbieri said...

Ooh Lisa. Didn't see that post. Very interesting. I will look out for Sisterna. These lunch boxes are ace. I think you'd love them, so try to get hold of one if you can. I wish someone would do them here. Why why why don't they??

Vicky said...

We use Sistema Slimeline Quaddie http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sistema-Slimline-Quaddie-Lunch-Aqua/dp/B002KKCLPA the only problem I have with them, is that they don't fit a normal sized yoghurt.

thewrightfamily said...

My eldest had one of these for years and I think it was our best lunch box ever. Then I had four children and it became too expensive (and he loses his lunch bag) so I switched to these sistema cubes
http://www.amazon.com/Sistema-Klip-Lunch-Container-48-Ounce/dp/B002B4S75I
Cheap and cheerful, easy to clean and only one piece to find each morning.

Annalisa Barbieri said...

You must have been one of the originals people who recommended it to me! Thanks for that link. I think this is the UK version? (Cos you live in the States now don't you?)

http://www.amazon.com/Sistema-Klip-Lunch-Container-48-Ounce/dp/B002B4S75I

BabelMum said...

I did not know about these, thanks!
I have personally fallen in love with PlanetBoz, ever since I read this post: http://livinginthelandofchocolate.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/making-packed-lunches.html

I was on the verge of getting them for my older schooled two girls, then resorted to the sisema cubes. I could seriously not justify the price+shipping+tax from the US...

I'm still in love with the idea of them though *swoon*

BabelMum said...

I meant PlanetBox of course!

Annalisa Barbieri said...

Oh. My. I LOVE them BabelMum, thanks so much for posting about them. But now, I want want want. Oh dear!

BabelMum said...

Sorry :) I haven't lost hope of getting them someday...