While we’re holding on to the summer vibe with all our might, the reality is that it’s time to head back to school. To help you get the kids prepared (and ok, truth be told, to also sweeten the transition for all involved), we’ve pulled together the gear that is topping our list here at Sassy Mama this year. From lunchboxes that look cool but also save the planet, to where to track down the latest must-have backpacks, plus where to source those impossible to find things on your list (psst: we know where to get those brown shoes that some schools require), it’s all about making your search just a tad less painful.
GEAR: Backpacks, Lunchboxes and More
It’s no secret that at Sassy Mama we love Baby Central and in particular their new Wong Chuk Hang Store, and what better excuse to take a trip Southside than a bit of back to school stocking-up? If you can’t get down to the store in person, hit up their website which offers free delivery for orders over HK$200. (And procrastinators will love that they have same-day delivery if you order before 12pm.) A few favourites with special back-to-school prices as we speak: the ingenious Yubo lunch box, the mini bobble water bottle, and super cute Skip Hop backpacks. In fact, there’s loads of school gear on sale all this month and next.
For fun and super-durable backpacks, lunch boxes, water bottles and more, we love Penny Scallan. While you can find their products with their signature vibrant prints (cars, apples, stars…) at shops in town like Bumps to Babes and Baby Central, you’re going to want to head to their website (which dispatches order in one day) where right now you can score 30% off ALL Penny Scallan itemsby using the code “SASSY”at check-out now through next Tuesday, August 21. Wahhhhooo!
For eco-friendly lunch gear, head to Tiny Footprints on Duddell Street in Central and check out their new range of innovative food carriers. We’re loving the Nude Food range, the cleverly sectioned BPA-free lunch boxes and snack carriers that ensure that everything has its place. And this school year we’re doing away with Ziploc bags in favour of Lunch Skins, the reusable sandwiches and snack bags that not only eliminate the need for plastic bags and sandwich wrappers but also look great too with funky graphics. Add to those the great range of adorably quirky lunch boxes and bags from cult fave Beatrix (the choice of mums like Katie Holmes, Meg Ryan and Halle Berry) and Tiny Footprints have the lunchroom well and truly covered.
Now for those with older kids who have moved on from sweet characters and bold, cutesy graphics, Pottery Barn Kids and Pottery Barn Teen get our stamp of approval (it was a very happy day here when they announced international shipping). They offer a super range of gear, including backpacks that offer loads of bells and whistles like a padded section for a laptop and special holes for earphones, plus they have great coordinated lunch bags, pencil cases, homework holders, locker accessories, and lots more. And it can all be personalised with a mammogram or name. Another thing we love here? Their collaboration with Kleen Kanteen, the “original” non-toxic, eco-friendly BPA free stainless steel water bottles.
And don’t forget the Canton Road shops and markets like Kowloon’s Yau Ma Tei market, Mong Kok’s Fa Yuen market, or Stanley Market for cool backpacks from Billabong, Ripcurl, Kipling, Roxy and Outdoor (which, by the way, the tween crowd tells us is the must-have backpack of the school year – so just don’t say we didn’t tell you).
SUPPLIES: Pens, Notebooks – And All That Good Stuff
For all the pens, pencils and erasers you could ever need or want, your local neighbourhood stationery store is your first stop. With hundreds of these all over Hong Kong, the basics are cheaply and easily available without having to go too far away. One of our go-to’s is Yat Fat which carries everything under the sun (2/F Yat Fat Building, on the corner of Des Voeux Road and Li Yuen Street West).
For something a little prettier, Papyrus has branches in IFC Mall, Festival Walk, Times Square and Prince’s Building, to name but a few. Also worth a look are City’Super’s Log-On stores which have unusual paper products and fun designs.
And for the older set, we’re fans of Muji. With 10 shops in HK – including two in Causeway Bay and one in Harbour City – this is the place for minimally cool (read: lots of beige) notebooks, organisers, pencil cases, and more.
And how’s this for an end of summer craft project?This fun design-your-own pencil case fromSeedling does double duty as it gets the kiddos ready for school while keeping them entertained for a bit on these last days of summer.
FANCY FOOTWEAR & STURDY SCHOOL SHOES
As you work down that seemingly endless checklist, one of the standout items is a decent pair of school shoes. The folks at Stride-Rite are experts when it comes to the perfect fit and have two locations in Causeway Bay and one at the Ocean Terminal in TST. We love that they save your child’s fit profile for easy reference each time you visit. Even better is that they have a summer sale on now through September 2 – buy two pairs get 10% off; 3 or more and get 20% off. Cha-ching.
For those of you with children at schools requiring brown shoes rather than black (like ISF), we can tell you they are NOT that easy to find (though why that is we have no idea). Bumps to Babes doesn’t stock brown school schools, and Stride Rite doesn’t have too many. So we say head to Lee Gardens in Causeway Bay and bop into a kids shoe shop called My Shop which stocks school shoes in both brown and black. And hey, and it’s right across from Magic Mirror so why not book haircuts for the kids and kill two birds?
There’s no shortage of locations for buying sneakers and sportswear in Hong Kong, with all the big names well represented around town. For a one-stop shop with helpful staff who can advise on all matters sporting, head to Escapade Sports, at Cochrane Street Central or Leighton Road Causeway Bay. For unique swimwear, Swim and Fitness in Wan Chai has everything you need, including kids costumes, armbands, goggles and caps.
So they’ve got all their swanky new stuff for school, but how to make sure it comes home with them when the end of day bell rings? Stuck On You offer a wide range of fun personalised nametags, as well as stationery, kit bags, drink bottles, bag tags, and lunch boxes. We love their super-cute designs as well as their smart value packs that contain more than enough labels for clothes, shoes, bags and anything else that you’d like to personalise. All labels have a choice of designs to suit boys or girls and are available in a selection of fun colours with loads of ways to personalise them. Just remember, it can take 7-10 days for orders to be dispatched – so hop to it, mama!