Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Where to shop for school uniform. Your Back to school checklist for September with brands from the high street.

Back to school uniform shopping

I know we are only just over a week into the holidays, some of us a little bit more into the holidays, but already the shops are full of Back to School items for September. 

I thought I would take a look at school uniform and what the shops have to offer when it comes to the essential uniform shopping. 

I have four children still in education and in need of lots of school uniform!

The list is endless and as a guide here is a list of what I would usually buy per child for a new school year if the children were in need of everything. 

2 school jumpers/cardigans and/or one blazer if needed
4 polo shirts or smart shirts
2-3 pairs of trousers or skirts 
PE shorts, PE t-shirt, PE joggers, plimsolls (trainers for outdoors) PE bag/gym bag
Lunch box
Pencil case and stationery (for the older ones) 
Tights and socks
Winter coat
Book bag
School shoes
Clothing and kit labels

We currently need trousers and skirts for Thing 2 and 3 plus trousers and polo shirts for Thing 5 and new socks for all of them! Thing 4 needs some new clothes too but as his school is non school uniform I can shop anywhere for his black to school clothing. 

We also need new school shoes, school bags, lunch boxes and stationery as well as name labels for EVERYTHING which will be covered in more detailed blog posts very soon. 

Alongside this the older two also need polo shirts but these have the school logo on and have to be bought from a local school uniform stockist.

I try and find somewhere that can cater for all of the children. There is nothing worse than having to drag them around 20 different shops to get everything that you need but I know when shopping for a six year old and fifteen year old at the same time this isn't always going to be possible. 

Here is a quick round up of a few key school uniform items from various stores with prices too. 

Marks and Spencer

Marks and Spencer are currently offering free delivery on school uniform and luring me in with statements such as 'stain and weatherproof' 'non-iron' and 'scuff resistant'. Their uniform sizing runs from 2-3 years right through to 17-18 years with slim fit, regular fit and plus fit as well as four different trousers lengths too. This is fab as it can hopefully cater to all my children's needs once we get there. 

This 2 pack of boys slim leg trousers ranges from £11-£17 for a 2 pack and comes in four colours. Crease resistant, stain resistant and with an adjustable waistband too. 

The Marks and Spencers polo shirts come in a pack of three and in five different colours too. Prices start from £7 for the younger ages and rises to £15 for the bigger sizes. 

Marks and Spencer senior skater style skirt

My older girls love a skater style skirt and this one from Marks and Spencer looks perfect with a nice length to it. This is a senior skater skirt and so the sizes start at 9-10 and go up to 17-18 years. Price range from £10-£14 for one. 

Marks and Spencer also have a whole range of jumpers, shirts, blazers, sports shorts, underwear, coats, shoes & trainers and socks so is an ideal one stop uniform shop. 

Next also have a lot of choice for their Back to School range and again stock almost everything you would need for school. 

Trousers in Next are priced at £16-£26 for a pack of two as shown below and the age range is from 3 to 16 years. They have many styles of trousers for back to school and come as single pairs as well as some packs of two. Their polo shirts come in a pack of five and cost between £15-£21 age dependant. 

Next grey flat front slim fit trousers two pack and Next five pack white polo shirts.

In Next they have 3 other colours of polo shirt available but these are in 2 packs and prices start at £6. The majority of their trousers are black and grey with only 4 styles available in navy (Thing 5's school uniform colour way). 

If your school jumpers don't need to have a school specific logo on then Next have a great range of colours in their crew neck sweaters. With 7 colours to choose from and available in ages 3-16 years they start at just £6 each. 

I have bought lots of uniform from the TU at Sainsbury's range before and it's always been lovely. With trousers starting from just £7 for a 2 pack which are available in black, grey or navy. Clothing stops at age 12 years with Tu then they have a senior school section on their website which takes you up to age 16 years.  

Sainsbury's polo shirts start at just £3.50 for three and are available in an amazing ELEVEN different colours. From white, yellow and light blue through to purple, black, red and many more. 

Just four of the eleven colours of polo shirts from Sainsbury's for Back to School. Prices start at just £3.50 for three. 

Tu senior school black skater style skirts. A 2 pack costs from £12 for ages 10-16 years.

(If you can wait I have a sneaky feeling there will be a Tu 25% off event coming before September too) 

John Lewis have a good range of school uniform including some school specific uniform for certain schools in different areas. They have many different styles of trousers and skirts/dresses and all are available in grey, black and navy. Do also remember that in store at John Lewis they also have Clarks and Startrite shoe fitting services as well as other makes so you could get your shoe shopping done in store too.

These John Lewis basics adjustable waist boys school trousers in a 2 pack only come in grey and cost between £10-£16. The age range is from 3-16 years. Their polo shirts come in a 2 pack and are available in 4 colours and start at £8 a pack, they are also available in 3-16 years. 

Available in grey or navy I love this John Lewis girls adjustable waist bib tunic dress. Thing 3 had this for infant school and it look lovely on. Priced at £15-£17 for ages 3-4 to 11-12 years. 

School uniform shopping can be stressful at times and stores can get very busy. Online shopping seems so much easier as long as your are certain on sizes needed, although many stores offer free returns for unwanted items. I always think I have got ages to buy uniform and then I am out in the last week of holidays along with lots of other frazzled parents looking for all of our Back to School essentials. 

Are you Back to School ready? Are you ready to go or are you a last minute shopper? 

Monday, 23 July 2018

Double, triple, quadruple birthday celebrations. Our busy August birthday month and Thing 2 & Thing 5's birthday on the same day!

Double, triple, quadruple birthday celebrations!!

The birthday cake, if you have a Costco card you must buy these cakes. Extremely scrummy and fab value for money. They are huge.

Yes so I didn't plan that one very well did I and so on her ninth birthday our daughter got a baby brother for her birthday! I didn't gift wrap him but he was there ready and waiting for her when she woke up that morning. Not quite what she asked for but certainly something a little different?!

I knew their birthdays were going to be close, my due date with Thing 5 was August 11th although Thing 4 was 2 weeks late so I was hoping there could have been a slight gap. However, Thing 5 decided to make an appearance and completely upstage Thing 2's birthday. She didn't mind, we had a very chilled out day as I had just given birth that morning. We went to the hospital around 11pm, I gave birth at 1.29am and we were home by 5.30am so I was slightly tired. If I remember rightly I sent the OH for Macdonalds for everyone for lunch and we spent the day with visitors for both the birthday girl and new addition of the birthday boy.

She didn't mind that day, she had a new baby brother and enjoyed having cuddles with him whenever she could. Also showing him off to the visitors that had come to visit her on her birthday. However, the past couple of birthdays she has expressed her annoyance a bit more. It's difficult. Last year we went bowling and out for lunch and we all had a good time. Five children makes a small party in itself and they had fun, ending up with visitors coming and going throughout the afternoon/evening to help share the birthday cake.

Thing 5 on various birthdays. 

This year she wanted to go out, she wanted to see friends and ideally didn't want to share her day! We still had a good day and we went out for lunch followed by a birthday tea party at home with various relatives popping in and out with presents and plenty of cake eating went on. However, she really wanted to do something just for herself. As they've got older there are more things we can do together as a family now. Trips to the cinema, a local trampoline park and trips into London have been part of our birthday celebrations in previous years. 

Over the years we've eaten out at Frankie and Benny's and Hard Rock Cafe in London

It's also my brothers birthday on the same day as well as a few friends so it makes for a very busy day. We made it fun and we made it a special day for them both but I know as they get older we will have to have separate parties, outings etc... on different days with their different circles of friends.

Trying out the birthday hair chalks, best £1 ever spent! 

We all have that one month where it seems to be everyones birthday that we know and we walk out of the card shop with a box full of cards rather than a bag! August is our busy month, my Dad, my Nan, my brother, two children, two cousins and lots of friends too.

Which month is your busy month?! Do you have children that share the same birthday?