Back to school written in scrabble pieces on top of a yellow piece of paper

Our Back to School Essentials

So you’ve bought the uniform, new lunch boxes and school bags ready for the children going back to school in September but there are still more things you need. This year we are here to help you with things that you may have overlooked.


We all know that buying school shoes is probably the most daunting of all in the dreaded back to school shop. We want to get it right and buy shoes that fit well and ensure that they will last. Your children spend at least 6 hours a day in their school shoes, so making sure that their feet are comfy is really important. Most days we walk to school and it’s a 20-minute walk each way, so although not too far, it’s definitely far enough for you to need comfy shoes on your feet.

Start-Rite has been supplying children of all ages with good quality footwear since 1792. This back to school season they have more shoes available than ever before. We are loving their “Score” shoes. They’re designed so that they don’t scuff easily and are aimed at boys who are always on the go. These sturdy black leather shoes offer 360-degree protection with extended heel and toe bumpers and a high traction, flexible sole. Internal mesh linings give increased breathability meaning they will be perfect for all day everyday wear. They feature:

  • Riptape fastening
  • Dyed-through leather
  • Breathable mesh linings
  • Lightweight & flexible sole
  • Reflective panels for safety

Start-Rite offer shoes in whole and half sizes so that you get a better fit for your child. Your child’s feet should be measured both widths and lengthways so that your child has the correct width fitting shoe. This means that they get the most comfortable fit possible and their shoes will last longer than if you were just guessing their size.

  • Cycle Helmet

If your little one rides their scooter or bicycle to school you must ensure that they are road wise and that they have the appropriate safety equipment especially a helmet. Kiddimoto has a fantastic range of funky but practical helmets available. We love their Fossil dinosaur kids helmet. Each helmet design is available in two sizes: Small (48-53cm) and Medium (53-58cm). To measure your child’s head, use a measuring tape and measure around the widest point of the head, about an inch above the eyebrows. Helmets should fit snugly while leaving room for little heads to grow. For an added personal touch you can have your child’s name added to their helmet. £1 from every helmet sold from will be donated to Above & Beyond. This will help the charity to invest in projects that make a real difference to families from Bristol and across the South West. Funds generated from helmet sales will help support the 88,000 young patients treated at Bristol’s children’s hospital each year.

  • Personal Information

If your child is starting college or university, chances are they will be completing pieces of coursework and other assignments. Although they can save and then email these pieces of work to themselves it would be easier if they had an external hard drive so that they can keep all their work in one place. The diskAshur2 from iStorage is perfect for any student young or old and is available in four colours – Phantom Black, Ocean Blue, Fiery Red & Racing Green. This ultra-secure, PIN authenticated, portable USB 3.1 hard drive has an easy-to-use keypad design and is platform/device independent, it works across all operating systems including all versions of MS Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, Chrome and many others. The hard drive is GDPR compliant and has a dedicated hardware-based secure microprocessor which employs built-in physical protection mechanisms designed to defend against external tamper, bypass attacks and more. Unlike other drives, the diskAshur2 reacts to an automated attack by entering it into a deadlock frozen state, which renders all attacks as useless. You can even pre-program the hard drive with your own unique Self Destruct PIN which, once implemented, instantly deletes the encryption key, all PINs, data and then creates a new encryption key.

  • Ergonomic

As a left-hander, I used to struggle with writing when I was at school. My hands used to cramp often and I still have a lump on my finger where my pen used to rest. I’m not sure if my pens were to blame but I’m sure they didn’t help. These days my fellow lefties don’t have it so hard and STABILO has a huge range of pens that are designed especially for both left and right-handers alike. The pens are comfy to hold and have special grips dependant on which hand you write with. Stabilo also has a huge range of felt tip pens,  highlighters and colouring pencils too.

  • Practical

A little while ago we were asked to be ambassadors for Mapped Helix. As ambassadors, we were sent lots of products that the boys will need for going back to school. This includes a Maths Set, ruler, erasers, pens and much more. Their items are available from as little as 50p and are perfect for students of all ages. Our favourite product is their Maths Set (we have bought Callum two already in the past – he is very careless with his pencil cases and has lost both) it contains a compass, eraser, protractor and set squares all in a handy tin.

  • Personalised Pencil Case

  • Unicorns and Fairies – Little princesses everywhere would love to go back to school with their very own personalised pencil tin or pencil case from Born Gifted. Each of these cases can be personalised with a name of your choice and they both come with coloured pencils.

  • Beano Character –  Why not give your little menace their very own Beano personalised pencil case to go back to school with. You can choose from one of four characters – Minnie, Gnasher, or Dennis the Menace and in the choice of four different colours – Red, Blue, Yellow and Black. The canvas case has a zip to keep all your stationery in one place. The pencil case itself can be personalised with one of the four comic designs available and any name up to 15 characters long.  The pencil case includes 20 personalised colouring pencils.

My Three love to read and during term time they read many, many books. They also have lots of different projects throughout the year so having a few educational books on the bookshelf helps when we get homework that needs lots of research.

  • Educational Books from that you may find of interest.

    • Science Squad by Professor by Robert Winston – Suitable for kids ages 5-7, this book is designed to break down STEAM subjects, like science and technology, into fun and easily understandable chunks. readers will find out how robots work, what a food chain is, where lightning comes from and much more. The Science Squad characters (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Maths) guide the reader through the book and are always on hand with tips, fun facts, and simple explanations.
    • Stuff to Know When you Start School – A guide to help little ones on their first day of school by teaching you the skills you need to look after yourself, get on with others from learning to tie your shoelaces, finding the right hole for each arm in a jumper and remembering to say “please” and “thank you” all the important things are covered here.
    • How to Be An Engineer by Carol Vorderman – Readers can find out how engineers use STEAM subjects and their imaginations to fix problems and take inspiration from engineering heroes such as Leonardo da Vinci, Mae Jemison, and Elon Musk. This book encourages them to investigate, with amazing projects using things from around your home: find out about materials by crushing loo rolls, learn about jet propulsion with balloons, and build a robot arm from rulers.
    • Look I’m an Engineer – Perfect for kids ages 3-6, this early learning children’s book encourages little ones to use their senses to investigate how to make paper bridges, power a tugboat with an elastic band and much more. The activities coincide with Early Years and KS1 subjects taught at school, including science, maths, and technology.
    • Children’s Illustrated History Atlas – This book brings history to life with more than 40 colourful maps and fascinating facts of information about the past and it includes a pull-out poster. This atlas helps children to learn about world history all the way from the first people leaving Africa right up to how the world looks now, with a modern world map.  Children are shown how to read a map and how to use a key, compass, and scale. Each map is bursting with information, such as how big the Roman Empire was, how explorers made incredible journeys around the world, and when humans first travelled into space.
    • My Encyclopedia of Very Important Dinosaurs – A book that every young fossil hunter and dinosaur enthusiast needs. This book is bursting with up-to-date facts and discoveries, and includes everything from an in-depth exploration of the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods, how fossils are made and contains plenty of detailed profiles of including Tyrannosaurus rex, Triceratops, Stegosaurus, and many others too.
  • Diaries and Note Books

  • Character Diaries – If you have a student heading off to college or university they may find themselves needing a new diary. I know everyone these days has a diary on their phone or computer but I still love to write all my important dates and information down on paper – plus if you lose your phone or your computer breaks you’re stuck – it’s always best to have a backup. Danilo has a huge range of diaries available including academic diaries that start mid-year so that they cover the full academic year instead of new year to new year. We are loving their Pusheen and Star Wars diaries as they have plenty of space in them to write down all our important information.

  • Personalised Note Books – If personalised notebooks are on your back to school shopping list Born Gifted have an awesome range suitable for both boys and girls and for children of all ages. From princesses and unicorns to footballers and monsters – they have the lot.
  • Water

It’s important that little ones keep hydrated throughout the school day. Being well-hydrated aids concentration and helps keep us all fit and healthy. Soft drinks are banned in our school and all children are encouraged to bring a water bottle to school so that they can have a drink close by for as and when they need it. We love these personalised bottles from GiftPup.

  • Headlice

The bane of all parents with school-aged children. I can guarantee we will have a letter home before the first week is out to ask all parents to check their child’s hair for these critters. Hedrin has launched a new fuss-free all in one shampoo, to help make treating head lice stress-free. Hedrin All-in-One Shampoo kills lice in just 10 minutes and is twice as effective as combing alone, leaving hair fresh and clean. For parents that want to deal with head lice as part of the evening bath routine, Hedrin All-in-One Shampoo provides a simple solution that can be incorporated seamlessly into bath time. Hedrin All-in-One Shampoo is allergy certified, skin friendly, easy to use and does not have a nasty odour, making it an obvious choice for quick and straightforward head lice treatment. It does not contain pesticides; therefore, lice cannot build up a resistance to the product, meaning it will work every time. After using Hedrin All-In-One Shampoo, a further check should be carried out one week after application to make sure that no lice or eggs have managed to escape treatment. If any live lice are discovered then the shampoo should be re-applied. Available to buy from Boots

  • Stress

Sometimes stress gets the better of all of us, the first day of a new job, a big occasion, going on holiday etc so if we’re stressed by these occasions it’s likely that our children are too. If they are worried about the first day of school or an upcoming exam Rescue Remedy may help in the short term. Their Blackcurrant Pastilles or original orange and elderflower pastilles contain the famous combination of five flower essences (Rescue®) in a tasty soothing fruit pastille and are ideal for helping to support those busy first days back at school. They are available from Boots, Holland & Barrett, independent pharmacies and health food stores as well as grocery stores nationwide.

Fun Items

If you’re looking for funky items for going back to school then Smiggle is the place to visit. They have an amazing range of school bags, lunchboxes, stationery and much much more that is perfect for any young child heading back to school this September. My Three love Smiggle as their products are just so fun and funky.

Gift Cards

If your children are heading to college or uni this year and are in need of new things before they go or whilst they are away from home then one app they need to know about is Zeek which is available free on both iOs and Android devices. Zeek is an online marketplace for buying and selling unwanted gift cards and vouchers at discounted rates. With hundreds of high-street retailers on board including Amazon, John Lewis and Ted Baker there are countless ways for people to make some extra cash from the unwanted £10 HMV Christmas voucher that Granny gave or make saving savings on their everyday purchases – especially when going back to uni/school – the possibilities to save are endless! To sell an unwanted gift card you simply enter the gift card details (most have a serial number and a PIN) and set your asking price. All vouchers are authenticated and balance checked before they’re sold. Most vouchers sell in less than 24 hours and the funds are paid out by Paypal, bank transfer, Zeek credit or an Gift Card. Shoppers are able to buy discounted gift vouchers to save money whenever they shop. Hundreds of retail and entertainment brands are available, with typical savings of between 5% and 25%. Zeek sells both digital gift cards for instant online redemption and traditional physical gift vouchers.

*We were sent the above items for the purpose of this article – all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own*

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