Back to school, or rather starting school, preparations are now in full swing as I realised the other day (with admittedly more than a little panic) that we are only now a couple of weeks away from the start of the school term – how has the summer gone so fast?!
I had planned to follow family tradition and head straight to Clarks shoe shop for Monkey’s first pair of school shoes. I remember fondly the annual ritual of heading to the Clarks branch around the corner from my nan’s house before the start of the school year, where the same old lady would measure our feet each year, remarking how much we’d grown since our previous visit. We would browse the shelves looking for the exact pair of shoes we had spotted on all the back to school television advertising – was anyone else completely obsessed with the Clarks Magic Steps shoes? I still remember images from the advert, the little girl in the forest with her magic shoes and that precious key, forget the shoes, it was all about the key! My sister and I HAD to have those!
But alas, we are not around the corner from my nan’s house, we are thousands of miles away from Old Blighty and there is no point forcing traditions for traditions’ sake. Even though Monkey has only ever worn Clarks shoes his entire life (yes, it has cost me a small fortune, especially when he seemed to outgrow them every month in the first couple of years) I found myself wandering into Shoe Mart within BabyShop at Mall of the Emirates, somewhere I had never planned to buy shoes for the munchkins. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find a whole array of quality footwear brands and a wide selection of school shoes, each of which would meet the strict criterion prescribed by the school (think velcro!). From Ecco to Pablosky, Reebok to Kickers, there is a range of branded shoes to suit every budget.
For Monkey’s first school shoes I picked these super cute shoes from Start-Rite, the British footwear brand trusted with the growing feet of little Prince George.
“With 220 years of experience and expertise, Start-rite are dedicated to creating quality, durable, stylish-fitted footwear designed especially for children of all ages.”
I figure if they are good enough for a Prince of the British Monarchy they are good enough for my little prince. As a bonus, at AED169, they were also cheaper and looked more comfortable than the equivalent in Clarks. Monkey seemed happy enough with them as he raced round the store in an attempt to demonstrate just how comfortable he found them. I think he is also happily enjoying the novelty of having big boy shoes like daddy! Start-Rite shoes are stocked by high end outlets like alexandalexa.com and John Lewis so I did not expect to come across them in what I had previously considered to be a store for the more budget conscious, clearly I was wrong, certainly when it comes to brands. I will certainly be wandering back into Shoe Mart/Baby Shop for school shoes in the future. That’s not to say I won’t still be a Clarks customer for the munchkins, I just don’t have to be exclusive, and maybe I’ll save it till I am back home and can get the full nostalgia-inducing Clarks experience!
Not to be left out, our latest shoe aficionado Missy also got a pair of shoes, hers were from Brazilian girls footwear maker Pampili. These will be perfect for her flowergirl duties at a wedding next month. The bride-to-be had sent me out with a brief of white pumps with pearl or lace and to be honest, I scoffed when she said pearl, but low and behold, I found exactly what I was looking for in the most unexpected place! What sold them to me was the fact that they have a soft flexible sole which is just what Missy needs having only just started walking, I’ve really struggled to find that elsewhere in her slightly-larger-than-pre-walker foot size. So all in all a very successful afternoon’s shoe shopping. Except that mummy didn’t get anything for herself. Again!
Are you all set for the new school year? Leave me a comment below, I would love to hear from you!