All the essentials to make Back to School cool in 2017 mamas
With back to school just around the corner, the mammoth shop/plan/panic for getting organised has begun! And as for all the kit? Yikes, there’s so much to do! Panic not, mamas, from school shoes to stationery, organisers to lunch boxes, we’ve rounded up some of our fave essentials to make back to school a breeze. Hooray and happy shopping!
One thing’s for sure, your kiddos shoes are going to take a bashing at school – all those playground antics and running from one class to the next will take their toll so it’s worth investing in a good quality pair of kicks! You can’t beat Clarks for school shoes – made with ultrasoft, breathable leathers and fitted perfectly to support growing tootsies – there’s everything from girlie patent mary-jane styles to boys velcro do-ups with flashy lights in the heels and white sneakers too.
This year, the Clarks Back to School collection is set to spark the imagination of curious kids with the Gloforms characters AND an interactive Gloforms app for kids to complete a series of challenges and learn fun facts along the way. With every purchase, little ones will receive a free Gloforms toy and a holographic film to view through a pyramid kit that can be found in the bespoke shoe boxes. Going back to school has never been so fun!
Also try: Ecco’s high-quality kids’ shoes that are comfy, hard wearing and a hit with the littles! If you have a mini fashionista on your hands then a visit to kiddie style haven Level Kids is a must – their ‘Back To School’ collection includes shoes from Geox, Ralph Lauren, Simonetta and Philipp Plein.
Kiddo’s hair got a little wild and wooly over the summer hols? Fear not mamas, there are plenty of places in Dubai to get their tresses looking tidy in time for the start of term. The first day of school is all about making a (good) first impression – and if they look the part then we’re hoping they’ll act it too! Check out our list of some of the best places to get expert kiddie cuts – many complete with distractions (we’re talking tv screens and themed interiors) to keep them still and calm. We’ve also heard great things about Orlando in JLT and Belle Enfance – the Level Kids Spa & Salon that offers cute cuts for boys and girls in the most gorgeous environment (they also have mini spa services if you want to treat your little diva…).
While your littles will probably be issued a school book-bag, chances are they’ll need something extra for heaving all their kit about (mama advice: get them something that’ll fit everything from lunch boxes to water bottles and books too so that they’re not trying to juggle a million things). Key features to have are side pockets, sturdy shoulder straps to protect their growing bones and multiple compartments. We love UAE homegrown brand Rock Paper Scissors for a super cute range of funky backpacks, stationary, lunch bags, water bottles and more. Founded by Dubai mama Deepa Dhamecha Ryan (who knows all about the stuff that makes kids tick and that’s practical too), your little ones will love the bright trendy designs – and you’ll love the prices (from AED 30) and speedy delivery all across Dubai.
Also, Pottery Barn has a range of backpacks in cute themes and in different sizes. They’re super durable, functional, roomy and packed with pockets, straps and gear loops to keep everything in place – plus made of water-resistant fabric and with adjustable padded straps. Oh and you can get the kiddos names embroidered onto them in store – bye-bye lost kit!
Other shops to try include: Babysouk for Beatrix NY bags, Cath Kidston for a cute range of kiddie print backpacks, Just Kidding for Elodie Details backpacks and Accessorize or Paperchase for fun colours and themes.
We all know that a good breakfast is the best way to get the kids in gear for school, but bringing a yummy snack and/or lunch is just as important for maintaining brain power and energy. We particularly like this Yumbox option complete with 5 little bento style compartments in a removable tray, BPA and phthalates free and available in 2 styles and loads of cool colours and designs. The best bit? This baby is completely leak-proof – and each little compartment is individually sealed meaning that you can pack yoghurt next to crackers with no worries – no need for cling-film or multiple lids. Hooray!
Available at Babysouk from AED 149
Other shops to try include: Lakeland for leakproof bento box styles, Pottery Barn for lunch boxes to match backpacks, Just Kidding for all sorts of cute options and mumzworld.com for snack boxes and lunch boxes galore.
Hydration is key mamas and water bottles are a must for little ones in Dubai. Our absolute fave? Still the camelbak bottles that make drinking up simple. The spill-proof design and BPA-Free materials make these perfect for the minis and they’re durable and dishwasher proof too – plus you can buy replacement bite valves if the kids chew on them! From monster designs for the boys to fairies for the girls, or just in a range of vibrant colours –just make sure to get them named as chances are there’ll be other kiddos with the same!
Available at DbBabies from AED 78
Other shops to try include: Carrefour for a good range of water bottles, The Change Initiative for (safe) glass options by Lifefactory, myorganicbabyshop.ae for stainless steel bottles and mumzworld.com.
Is there anything more annoying than the kids losing their kit on day 1? Make sure that their gear is labeled to the max and they’ll have no reason to let their stuff go walkabout ever again (or at least sifting through the piles of lost property will be that much easier with a name to look for). For the coolest name labels around we love Stuck On You – their range is huge and there are adorable designs to choose from (monkeys, koalas, fire engines, dinosaurs or even just bright colours– you name it, they’ve got it) and loads of shapes to make things a little more interesting. All of their labels will stay stuck – even after dishwashing and microwaving – and their iron-on clothes labels are super easy to apply. Go for one of their value packs and get sticky labels, iron-on, bag tags and more.
Nothing brings as much joy to a child as a little desk candy – they go wild for pretty pencils, grippy pens and cool erasers (or is that just ours?!). Indulge them in some new goodies and encourage a love of drawing and writing with pencil cases and contents from British brand Paperchase. This popular stationery shop stocks tons of colourful stuff like polka dot gel pens, funky highlighters (in all colours and shapes) and eye-catching notebooks, as well as folders and files.
Looking for reliable and practical stationery that’ll survive the classroom? With a wide variety of paper products as well as a covetable range of craft tools, WHSmith has your little lovelies covered for back-to-school writing supplies.
If your kids tend to rock a “minimalist cool” style, then a set of lecture pads and some other bits and pieces from Muji should make them happy. With stores in Dubai Mall and Mirdif City Centre – Muji’s main draw card is the massive selection of pens available; from coloured gel pens to basic blue biros, you can easily stock up for the entire year in one go.
Want to know our new favourite? Typo – a heaven for any stationery addicts out there – we could easily spend a few hours and a whole lot of dirhams in here!
This list wouldn’t be complete without Borders, our go to place for all things stationery under one roof. From books to pencils, chart papers to water bottles and much more, you name it and there’s a huge chance that you’ll find it here. For busy mamas like us, Borders is a brilliant one stop shop when we’re trying to juggle 100 things at once.
Make term-time as smooth as possible with a family activity planner! Our current fave? This one from Not On The High Street but check out Amazon and Typo for similar. Oh and keep an eye out for our Sassy Mama downloadable organisers and planners! From meal plans to emergency contact lists and a weekly calendar to keep track of activities, lessons and afternoon playdates – you’ll be able to keep everyone organised with our gorgeous graphics and designs.
Make sure you subscribe to Sassy Mama Dubai to receive our personalised family planners, coming soon!
While your kiddos uniform will be set by the school – they’ll need underwear, socks, jumpers and cardis and maybe even hats for outdoor play or plain tees to wear under scratchy shirts. Good old Marks & Spencers gets our top vote here – with everything from school regulation socks in white, navy, black or whatever colour you might need plus plain swim-shorts that are great as extras, v-neck cotton sweaters in uniform colours and simple white shirts plus loads more. And their selection of undies is fab!
Whether your little one is a budding Roger Federer or a cricket star in the making, you’ll need to get him or her kitted out in the right gear to help them on their way.
Adidas is FAB for white shoes: Nobody does white shoes better than Adidas, they’re light and easy on little feet (even us mamas swear by our pair of whites, for those days we want to play matchy matchy with our little…). A pair of Stan Smiths for PE? Why not!
Stadium Sports is a fab one-stop-shop for all things sporty, from footwear to accessories by most of the major brands. The Sun & Sand Sports outlet just off Umm Suqeim Street is also a great place if you don’t mind rooting around a bit – and there’s a huge new Go Sport in Mall of the Emirates that’s got everything you could want!
Featured image via Pexels, Other images taken from the brand social media pages or Pexels.
This article was first published in July 2016. The article has been now updated.