School Spending | Back To School 2017
I'm only going back to school mum if I can take the kitty and rabbit! #squadgoals
It's that time of year again! When parents across the globe spend a small fortune on uniform and stationary (and all the other little extras that the shops say you must also squeeze in). I'm thinking that August is actually my least favourite month of the year because of buying uniform, as I would rather be spending that money on more important things... like nail polish and holographic clothes.
When I first thought about doing a post on 'what I buy for school for my kids' I was going to do an 'epic' post listing everything that I bought for all 3 of my kids; which would make this post stupidly long and quite boring. So instead I decided to pick my youngest child who is 3yrs old and going into her 2nd year of nursery (due to the age cut off rules in the UK), and my friends daughter who is 9yrs old and going into Year 5 of primary school.
I am going to first just list what we have bought for each child, with the essentials first; which will be uniforms and shoes. Then extras; that will include lunch boxes and bags. As uniforms directly from the schools can't be linked, there is no point in me reviewing them as the quality is pretty much the same for every school. So when I say something is 'school branded' it just means it was bought from the school directly.
I will be giving my opinion on all the rest of the uniform; like pinafores and skirts. Once that is all done, I will give reasons to 'why' I buy all the extras. I am trying not to get this post all muddled up... so stick with me, we will get there!
Let's start with Isabella (I will provide links where available).
Isabella is wearing..
School Branded Cardigan
School Branded Polo Shirt
Marks & Spencer Pinafore (link here)
Frilly Socks from Ebay (link here)
Start-rite shoes (Last year's - New ones are pictured below)
School themed bows by Jen's Pretty Bow Bows (link here)
That is what Isabella wears for nursery. I do tend to buy her green tracksuit bottoms in the winter but I prefer pinafores for 'toilet' purposes. With Bee only doing two and a half days a week I only buy her 3 polo shirts, 2 cardigans and a jumper from the school themselves.
I buy a multipack of pinafores from Marks & Spencer. I love them for uniform as they tend to last the full year, even after constant washing and ironing. They are a little expensive when you compare them to the supermarkets, but I have never had a Marks & Spencer uniform fray or get a hole in it yet!
The socks and bobbles are on my 'essentials' list too, as I do love pretty bobbles with socks to match, it looks so cute!! I bought the frilly socks on eBay (link here) and the bobbles were from my friend who sells bows on Facebook, the link to her store is here.
I actually bought Isabella's new school shoes after I started this post but thought best to still include a picture of them below. They are Start-rite Children's Maria Riptape School Shoes, in black patent leather (link here). Again I know they are expensive and part of me thinks 'I got suckered in' because of how pretty they are; which if I am honest with myself is probably true. But saying that, all the shoes I have had from Start-rite in the past for my boys have lasted the full year, as did Isabella's first pair. They wear really well and Bella really did batter her last pair. They even got submerged in sand and water and came out fine, well once they dried out!
I even had Start-rite shoes when I was little! But not as pretty as these though.
Now let's start with the non essentials, I think some of you may not agree with this list as I am putting a bag and a pack lunch box on it and they can be classed as essentials, I just think there is no need to buy a new one if the ones you used last year are still in fantastic condition and I know a lot of people who do that, if its not broke don't fix it! I do still end up buying new ones most of the time, sometimes I should take my own advice!
Isabella's School Extras!
Minnie Mouse Samsonite Bag (link here) Pictured above
Trunki Trixie 2-in-1 Backpack and Drinks Bottle (link here)
Mine 4 Sure Tags for Bags (link here)
Mine 4 Sure Stick-on Shoe Labels (link here
Woven Labels UK Woven Iron On Name Tapes (link here)
I did go quite overboard with the 'extras' this year. I fell in love with that Minnie Mouse bag and really wanted it for my daughter...and me! It is quite large on Isabella but still functional... right?!?
This is her lunch box for the coming school year..
This 'Trunkie' lunch box looks fantastic. What made me really love it is the fact it can also be worn as a back pack or as a shoulder bag. Isabella has a habit of dragging her bags along the floor and damaging them so I was looking for ones that would fit on her back more this year. The design looks like one of their famous ride-on suitcases. I think its quite large for a lunch box and you can fit the juice bottle inside it too. This one came with a really cute juice bottle that Bee really loves. She wants to use it now so I have to hide it from her!
Now the lunch box is fab, but this bag is my 'splurge' item! Yes I'm a sucker for anything Disney and this looked like nothing else I had seen in their collection before. This cost £54... just let that sink in for a few minutes. Yes I did spent that on a bag for a child! But OK I do plan on using this bag myself too, if she lets me! I can fit my gym clothes and a lap top in that bag. All she needs to put in it for school is a change of uniform, some underwear and a pack of wipes so she has plenty of room for that and my stuff.
These were the last of my school 'extras' for Isabella and to be honest I also think they are pretty essential. I have lost so many uniforms over the years but I can't really say much as I never labelled them. I just got so fed up with wasting money that I just ordered some last term and for that term not one single item went missing! Isabella's teachers also loved that her stuff was labelled.
When I first labelled her stuff I bought sew-on ones, which were fab but quite time consuming as I had to sew onto every item which became hard, especially when you have to do your youngest son's too. So this year I have bought iron-on ones ans really hope they last as well as the sew-on ones.
I also bought shoe stickers and tags for Bella's lunch bag and back pack. I was told by the nursery teachers that the kids take their shoes off a lot and it can be quite confusing to sort out who's shoes are who's! So I labelled Isabella's and that's worked out well as I also used the labels on her ballet and tap shoes. So no more messing around looking for her shoes after class.
The tags are good too, probably not as essential as the shoe stickers and labels but they will make spotting Bella's lunch bag and backpack easier if there are kids with the same ones. Plus everyone loves a unicorn! I Love that these tags were unicorn shaped, so did Bella.
That's everything for Isabella... well almost all. I didn't see the point in adding things like underwear and coats and they are normal clothing items. I think I spent quite a bit for everything for Bella this year ,which maybe is a bit daft for a kid who will only be going two and a half days a week!
Now let's start my friends daughter Lucy..
Lucy also put up with me taking pictures of her in the rain!
Lucy is 9 and going into Year 5 at her school which means she only has a couple of years left until she's off to high school!
Like I did with Isabella, I will list what uniform 'essentials' Lucy is wearing and then make a 'non-essential' list after it (I will provide links to everything I can).
Lucy is wearing...
Pep & Co Polo Shirt (link here)
Asda George Girls School Bow Trim Flippy Skirt (link here)
Debenhams Girls Black Patent Platform School Shoes (link here)
Hair Bobbles from Jen's Pretty Bow Bows (link here)
Navy Socks from Jen's Pretty Bow Bows (link here)
Lucy's mum has not got all of her school branded uniform yet so still a few bits and bobs on her 'essentials' list to get. Jenny (Lucy's mum) makes all the bows and socks for her daughters uniform and for mine too. Jenny has bought 4 polo shirts, 1 skirt, 1 pinafore and will be buying 2 school branded cardigans for Lucy.
Jenny has not tried the Pep & Co polo shirts before but they were highly recommended. Her skirts have come from Asda and have adjustable waist and side zip fastening. They are a wonderful price for a skirt and I am hoping they wear well for Lucy as if they do I will be buying them for Bella, if she needs replacements. Her pinafore isn't pictured, it came from a local shop in Bootle called Paul's Place. It is a wrap around pinafore and looks really cute! Your local town centre will have a similar alternative store selling school clothes.
Here is a closer picture of Lucy's shoes...
These are a gorgeous pair of black patent leather platform shoes from Debenhams. The link for these shoes is above. I think I would actually like a pair of these for myself!
Now here is a close up of her lovely hair bows and socks.
These bows are amazing! She can make so many different designs and makes them for all 3 of her girls. I think I might have to get some of the sock ones for Isabella too!
Lucy's School Extras
Tie Dye Zipperless Lunch Box (link here)
Holographic Backpack (link here)
Jenny hasn't fully finished her school uniform shopping so there will be more 'extras' for Lucy as she goes on. But let's take a look at the lunch box first.
This lunch box is fantastic, it's fastened with a clip at the front of the box which you just twist to lock or unlock. The inside of the box is plastic, has one divider and two grooves, so you can change the location of the divider.
The lid of the lunch box can also come off and be used as a 'plate' when the child is eating their lunch. With the whole inside being plastic it means its easy to clean, just give it a wipe. Plus I think everyone will love that tie dye effect! I have made a link for this lunch box above but I don't know if there will be any in that design left now. There are other designs in the range.
Now you could say 'I live for' holographic stuff. I want someone to come out with a holographic bath bomb one day! Imagine bathing in all that rainbow goodness... sorry got a little lost in thought there! Lucy has a holographic backpack which I have linked above, but here is a better picture.
The backpack is a generous size, so Lucy will be able to fit in quite a bit including her PE kit if she wants too. Plus in the sun it will really stand out! Easy for her mum to spot in a crowd at the end of each day (holo has its extra uses!)
So that's Lucy done too! If you compare Isabella's school stuff to Lucy you will see I have gone a bit over the top this year, especially for a kid who is only in for a couple of days a week! There are some important stuff in my extras, which include all the labelling. Jenny uses a pen for that which is probably just as good, but I just don't trust some of the mums in school to not wash or cut that off if their kid brings home the wrong items.
When we look at how much we spend on our children for school it really does scare you. Now when you times that by 3 it can be terrifying! In the end they don't need loads of 'extras' but we are emotionally pressured into buying them by shop displays and advertising. On the flip side though I feel that some schools take advantage of the fact that they are the only ones that sell their school branded uniform, so parents are then pressured to buy it quickly before the school closes for the year. In truth, they can probably pick up the bulk in the weeks after school opens again and save swapping sizes due to those annoying summer growth spurts.
I have 3 children, 2 of which are in primary school and the other is about to finish his last year of senior school. So this will be my last year of buying 3 sets of uniform! I do feel excited for that!
Wow....that was actually one long post! (maybe it was 'epic' after all?) I want to say a huge thank you to those who managed to stick around to the end! Thank you sweeties.