It seems like only yesterday that we were shopping for Henry’s very first school uniform, and yet we’re already back again getting sorted for him to go back into Year 1!! When we first started getting things ready for school last year it was quite overwhelming, I even did a video on it if you wanted to see how we went about it and how we managed to get everything from one place in one trip because it was so much easier than I thought it would be! If your little one is going back to school this year I would definitely recommend making a list of the things you need to get before heading out to the shops because it will help break it down and make it feel less daunting. Often the schools give kit lists of the things needed and in fact I found this was smaller than what I thought Henry would need for back to school.
We had visited Basingstoke recently for a family day out and I had had a quick peek at their back to school options for this year, so I thought I would head back with Henry when we had a little more time to have a look for things to get him ready for the new school year. The Hampshire shopping centre has a huge array of major high street stores and every shop you could need for back to school.
Starting with the feet up we headed to Clark’s, it seemed a right of passage to get the first school shoes here but having found our feet a little (excuse the pun!) over the past year I knew it was worth shopping around for these. It was great to get his sized up professionally and have a look at the options in store. Henry has in his mind what he likes these days and what he feels comfortable in, so it’s great to encourage him to make his decision himself.
While we were walking around the shopping centre Henry spotted lots of fun recycling stations dotted around which he wanted to investigate – it was the Festival Place “Trash To Treasure” initiative, encouraging people to recycle and get the children involved. At home he is really into helping with putting the bins out and especially sorting the items that can be recycled so it was a great way to reinforce this outside of our own home and make it fun by spotting all the different robots at the stations.
During our hunt for Robot stations we saw these super cool cars which were outside the brand new customer lounge, of course Henry wanted to try them out! They looked perfect for keeping children entertained and occupied (not to mention sat down, in one place!) for busy parents who want to run around the shops getting things done quickly. I loved all the branding around the centre and that there was a central place for any queries or help needed as well as offering lockers and phone charging stations.
We headed back down to the main square to look for uniform, I knew M&S offered a really good selection and we had got a lot of his shirts and trousers from there last time. They came up quite small, so I’d recommend sizing up if you decide to get yours from there. I decided to walk further down to the huge new Next and once Henry had finished being distracted by all the superhero t-shirts we looked at the uniform they had on offer. Usually Next come up quite big so we went with some of the aged 5-6 shirts as well as looking through the trousers. Last year I got Henry a set of shorts only to find that he went straight into trousers and because of the adjustable waist a lot of these are actually still the right size for his little waist so he can still wear these should it be warm enough at the start of term this year.
We had fun looking at the cool stationary and various bags for back to school from shops like Smiggle and Paperchase as well as sports wear from JD Sports but Henry is still a little young to need anything just yet from these stores. We ended our day with a little cake date together at the new Patisserie Valerie – the honeycomb cake is AMAZING! Before heading back to the car. I thought I should give a shout out at this point to the newly revamped car park – it was SO easy to navigate around and even the normal spaces were huge which is really unusual for a shopping centre in my experience. All in all a very successful day out with my big boy, who I still can’t believe is almost ready for starting back in year one!
Disclaimer: I was provided with a voucher to purchase the items featured in this post and compensated for my time however all opinions are my own, as always.