Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Mama Life || Getting September Ready With Matalan - School Uniform Review

I remember as a kid seeing all those daunting 'back to school' posters in the shops, with lines of uniform and stationary and having just broken up for summer, really resenting those campaigns. The six weeks of summer were so fun and the last thing you want to think about is going back to school! Now I'm older though and have my own kids, I can see that these back to school campaigns aren't even slightly aimed to get the kids excited about new pens or shiny shoes, but actually for us parents to remind us to get our butts in gear and get ready for September!

The holidays soon fly by and after last year I promised myself that I never want to be that mum panicking a week before the school term started, desperately going through the rails looking through the dregs for the right size. By the time I got myself motivated for school shopping, I had everything to buy in one go and was faced pretty much with ages 3 and 13 with little in between, oops.

This year with Soph starting reception and Alf moving into year two (year two!!!!), I'm going to try and be a little more prepared, spread the cost through summer and make sure both kids have the essentials ready and waiting well in advance of the new term start.

Matalan kindly sent us some of their uniform samples to give us a head start as well as the chance of a little road test before school starts again. I thought I'd share the selection at Matalan as it isn't somewhere I'd think of for uniform but they actually have everything, some really nice styles and it's all available online so I don't even have to leave the house to order any more. Having had kids clothes from Matalan before, I knew their clothes are great quality, made from soft kid friendly fabrics fabrics, wash really well and tend to be pretty true to size which makes uniform shopping (especially online) so much easier. Having had uniform from all over, the Matalan prices are great for the quality of their clothes and this definitely applies to the school uniform section which is very reasonable.

When picking our samples I was really excited to see some slightly more unusual designs, particularly for girls; with cat face detail school shoes, scalloped edge cardigans and gorgeous pinafores, I knew I'd be able to kit the kids out head to toe, looking smart and feeling comfy for September.

Soph's First School Uniform

I'm so not ready for my baby to be heading to school, but seeing her so excited makes it that bit easier. Soph loves her clothes and likes to have options of tights, leggings, skirts and pinafores, so we have a good mix to get her started. It's all uniform, but just gives her that little bit of independence she's used to, getting to decide which bits of uniform she will put together each day.

The Matalan products we are trying out for Soph are;

Soph was so excited to see her new uniform, especially the shoes and pinafore dress which are my favourite too. The shoes feel really good quality, a little stiff  off the shelf but they'll soon loosen up with some practise runs around the house. I love the little detailing of the cat face stitching and the Velcro straps will be very easy for Soph to use on her own at school.

I love the little details like the scalloped edge on the cardigan, the slightly different jersey skirt which is very easy to wear and the dress which is not your average pinafore and looks adorable! The pinafore dress has a little elastic at the back for a better and longer fit. We will be definitely be back for some more so we're fully stocked.

The little polo shirts are packed with extra details, like the collar lacing, heart pearl buttons, embroidered butterfly and puffed sleeves. These added extras just make the uniform a little more special and a little more exciting for Soph. These shirts are super soft, high quality and really pretty!

Having a few different options like leggings, tights, the jersey skirt and pinafore means Soph has a bit of choice and will make the transition a little easier as she loves picking her outfits each morning. My only qualm with anything we were sent was the black leggings, which have quite a thick elastic waist band so I would probably opt for a size bigger for extra comfort. Otherwise the sizing and quality is great and super kid friendly.

After a test wash we've had no problems and we're now all set to get her bits labelled up and put away while we relax and enjoy the rest of our summer, huge thumbs up from Soph (and her Mummy!).

Alf's Year 2 Uniform

Alf's uniforms have always been a bit mish mashed, with hand me downs, charity shop bargains and other bits we've picked up that happened to be the right size having left it so late! This year though, he has his first bit of uniform sorted, courtesy of Matalan and I'm so happy that he's heading into year two looking smart, in comfortable 'proper' trousers and really cool light up shoes.

The Matalan products we are trying out for Alf are;

Alf loves his shoes, the rubber toe cover will keep them from wearing so quickly and the velcro makes it super easy for him to get on and off in a hurry (i.e last minute runs to school). The sides light up adding a little extra coolness with of course, dinosaurs. They feel very sturdy with strong velcro and I'm sure they will last well as it's always the toe that goes and we won't have that issue.

Having always worn jersey jogger style trousers, it's going to be so lovely seeing Alf in proper school trousers. These have a simple elastic waist with no tricky clasps, so are easy to get on and off whilst still looking smart. These are pretty true for size, meaning Alf has adequate waist and a little extra leg (it's in the genes!). These will be very easy to take up if needed though and they're a light fabric that will be easy to stitch or iron tape to turn up.

The jumper and teeshirts hang really nicely and feel very soft to touch, particularly the jumper which is light, bright and silky smooth and cosy to touch. Once washed, we had no colour loss or bobbling either so I'm pretty happy these will last him well.

Overall, we've been really impressed with these uniform samples. As a Mum they tick all the boxes, they wash well, they fit well and they are soft and comfortable to wear and easy for kids to dress themselves in. For the kids, they have some nice little touches making them a little more special and they are both very happy and can move easily whilst wearing them. We will definitely be grabbing a few more bits from Matalan, as well as a few logo sweaters from the uniform shop to mix in too. I'll share some pictures of them in their uniforms when we are getting closer to school time but until then, have a fab summer!

Have you started the uniform shop yet?

* We were sent samples in exchange for an honest review. All words and thoughts are my own and those of my children.