Monday, 1 August 2016

My School Years - Back to school with Marks & Spencer


Yes, that is the school photo from my reception year at primary school. Can you tell which one is me?

Apparently I still wear that outfit - I'm there in a navy dress, on the right. Back in those days, we didn't wear uniform to primary school. It just wasn't a thing. Now, as a parent, I think about how straightforward it is to have kids wearing uniform to school. It just doesn't require thinking about, and I think it makes for a less worn out non-school wardrobe. The only thing I have to do is make sure we wash and dry enough trousers and polo shirts for the week. 

Here's another one where I'm wearing a uniform of sorts: my netball kit (I look SO like my eldest here!).



I loved netball. So did my mum. She used to play at county level. Her position was WA – wing attack – and so that's where I played, too. Sometimes, I wonder about finding a netball club again but I'm a little worried I wouldn't be able to keep up anymore. It's a pretty tough game. 

I know it's only just August but I definitely have a bit of a back-to-school feeling. Us stationery lovers spend all year ogling pencil cases and dreaming of new notebooks, but at this time of year the rest of the world joins in.  

When I was a kid, we spent most of our summer holidays in France. There, in the vast, air conditioned supermarkets, I would loiter around the stationery aisle, all heart-eyes over the chic pens, rucksacks and paper goods by brands like Chipie. It all seemed so exotic and so enchanted, as though the very purchase of such posh products would imbue my schoolwork with a touch of continental je ne sais quoi. Back on home ground, the first day of school approached and I would carefully pack my bag, slinging my rucksack nonchalantly over one shoulder (bunching up my too-big shirt sleeve as I did) and make my way to school. It always felt like the longest walk but that half an hour alone each morning and afternoon gave me time to be with my thoughts, to imagine and think and dream. Strange to think I'd have spent most of that time on my phone if I'd been born 30 years later. 

Another memory was carrying the giant cookery basket full of measured-out ingredients, tea towel on top. I felt like Little Red Riding Hood taking her cake to grandma. Not many of the finished sausage rolls or buns made it home. My friends and I would snaffle them up before my parents got a look in. I feel quite strongly that cookery should play a bigger part of the curriculum. My grandma was a domestic science teacher and home economics was always my favourite lesson. A couple of hours to cook up a storm amid friends. It was challenging, fun and, in the main, tasty.

Fast forward to now and I still can't quite believe I'm the mother of two amazing, school-aged kids. Here they are, the funny pair. 



They're testing out school uniform from Marks & Spencer ('but it's the holidays, mum!') and messing about. For A, the classic school uniform – white polo shirt and flat-fronted grey trousers, with Stain Away technology to keep them looking sharp. For T, a slim fit version of both. He usually requires a belt with his slight frame but we've never tried uniform with a different cut before. He likes it. 

I was also really interested to read that M&S has teamed up with the National Autistic Society to create a new Easy Dressing range. We'll be signing up for more information about that one, definitely encouraging news.

Have a look at the M&S My School Years campaign where they've put together images and info about school uniform over the years. Fascinating stuff. 

Are you thinking back to school yet or is it too early for you? Do you have kids and do they wear uniform? What are your favourite school days memories? Leave me a comment and let me know!


M&S sent us school uniform for the purposes of this review. 
All thoughts and images are my own. 
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