Fashion blogger and mum of three, Kat Farmer AKA Does my bum look 40? has the lowdown on getting ready for the new academic year.
“Back to school” – Three words that strike fear into the heart of any parent. First of all, comes disbelief. HOW can the holidays almost be over? The realisation that your children have been on electronic devices for virtually the entire time, and you never did get around to visiting that museum, keeping that holiday diary (seriously, who actually manages that?) or generally be that perfect parent who “makes stuff”.
But worse than that is the dreaded list of new stuff they need for school. How is it that they grow 5cm in every direction (including feet) in the space of a few weeks – especially when they’ve been sedentary for 80% of it?
However, I have a cunning plan. You know that plethora of day trips you meant to go on? Pull it out of the bag last minute and kill two birds with one stone. I’m talking about a visit to the shopping centre. Now, I appreciate that sounds like hard work with your kids in tow, but it’s actually the complete opposite – there is method in my madness.
The beauty of a shopping centre is that you have lots of choice under one roof, from clothes to cool stationary. It’s not a case of one-thing-fits-all; you can give your little ones the very important decision of picking the must-haves they really love, which makes the back-to-school shop a whole lot more drama-free! After all, if they have a role in choosing things, they’re more like to cherish them, right?
So first up, the shoes. My advice is; do this early in the day. Whether you’re looking for a pair of snazzy black shoes or the latest, must-have triple black trainers, a shopping centre is packed with stores groaning with shoes to tempt even the most uninterested child, seeing as apparently shoe shopping can be ‘SO BORING’…
Next up, school uniform. Kill an hour in the day by getting them to try everything on in the changing rooms all in one go. At least then you know it all fits!
Then there’s the stationery shop. An important element of the back-to-school torture – sorry, “experience”. BUT it’s both functional as well as a treat for them. The lure of the “smelly rubber” is as strong as when I was a child, a LOT of years ago. Except now they’re much fancier, less Swiss roll and more macaron.
And finally, food. All this time you can dangle that magic carrot of food. Mine are sushi addicts – can’t imagine where they get their expensive taste from – but I can console myself that I’m adding culture and a level of sophistication to the proceedings, and giving them a taste of some international flavours!
Et voila; A day out! The kids have been entertained and you’ve bought with everything they need for back to school.
And as for that collage of shells that you brought back from holiday and meant to make into a photo frame for Grandma – there’s always next year…
Our top back to school picks: 1. Super Trinity Pencil Case, £12.99, Superdry 2. WHSmith Colouring Pencils, £4.99, WHSmith 3. Paw Patrol - Skye Embroidered Plush Front Backpack, £12, Debenhams 4. Belkin Twin Stripe Folio Case for 8" Tablets, £29.99, Clas Ohlson 5. Cat Shaped Pad, £7, WHSmith
Visit Clarks, M&S and Mothercare (children up to 10 years old) for shoe fitting services.
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