Back to School Essentials

This was probably my most liked and despised time of year. I absolutely hated the thought of having to get out of bed early, to sit around all day taking notes, homework etc. But one of my favourite parts of this time of year was all the back to school shopping I got to do, especially the stationary side of things!

By day I’m actually a Teacher in a School (For my sins), so despite growing up I still get to do a back-to-school shop each year! There really is nothing better than buying all new stationary to last the year; notebooks and pens to fill with notes, a new school bag, a diary, and don’t even get me started on the back to school wardrobe!

Now, if your school is anything like my school was, makeup is pretty much a no-no. They tolerated a ‘natural look’, but woe betide anyone who tried to get away with more than the basics; a light coverage foundation, powder, mascara, lip gloss.

Let me talk you through the various essentials often overlooked in a back-to school shop, with some of my top picks to make life that much easier!

1. Vaseline – A complete essential for any woman. Not only the perfect product to put on your lips to keep them hydrated and flake-free, but has a multitude of uses too; from taming stray flyaway hairs from your ponytail or eyebrow, to acting as a makeshift body cream for any dry areas, Vaseline is something that every girl should carry in her handbag.
2. Hairpins – An obvious choice, really, but there’s nothing I hate more than loose flyaway hairs on my face when I’m hot. Chuck a few of these in a makeup bag, and they’re always on ha d if you need to tie your hair up quickly.

3. Invisibobbles – My newly discovered favourite! I love to carry a hair bobble around with me, as I can’t stand having my hair on my face, but don’t like the kink you get from them when you take your hair down. Voila! These babies are a complete lifesaver! They do exactly the job you want them for, but don’t leave any annoying bumps when you take your hair down, and don’t cause any lasting damage from an over-tight hair band. A great little invention.

4. Tangleteezer – Again, a pretty obvious choice for any girl is a hair brush, and when you can get one this cool looking that does a great job, you’re onto a winner. These brushes look great, are easy and compact to carry around with you and stop any damage and tugging when your hair is anything less than perfect.

5. Blotting sheets – In case you get a random hot day, or the stress is getting to you, or like me you have slightly oily skin, these beauties are great at keeping your face lovely and matte throughout the day.

6. Perfume – This could be either a roller ball perfume, a traditional glass bottle or a spritzer; as long as you have something to freshen yourself up, they all do a similar job.

7. Handcream – I never leave home without a tube of Handcream. I get very dry skin on my knuckles, especially during the colder months, and these can get very cracked and painful if I don’t take care of them. Go for one that is both moisturising and hydrating, and remember to apply it regularly throughout the day. Soap and Glory do amazing hand creams, and for a very reasonable price!

8. Hand sanitiser – Again, this is something I never leave home without, even more so now I have a baby in tow. If you use public transport to and from school/college/uni/work this is a complete essential, as there are so many germs around, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

9. Coloured pens/highlighters – I’m a very visual learner, and absolutely have to write things down in order to remember them. One way I like to organise my ideas/notes/memos etc is to use coloured pens and highlighters. I have different colours to identify different things, and I find it just draws my attention more. As a teacher, I always advise my GCSE students to write their notes in different colours and on different coloured paper as a way of reinforcing memory and catching attention; studies have shown that colours can enhance memory and visualisation, so especially when you’ve got to retain large pieces of information writing part in different colours can prove useful.

10. Post-it notes and sticky tabs – As a lot of English Literature A Level exams are open book exams, these are a complete essential for taking notes without marking your book. Not only that, they’re great for marking a page, writing down a quick memo, revision notes, to-do lists etc.
11. Diary – Even though I use my phone as a diary, I still like to carry around a paper copy in my bag. If your school or college doesn’t provide you with one, I strongly recommend you buy one. Paperchase is the very best place to go for diaries and notebooks; not only are they absolutely gorgeous designs, but they are sturdy and made with good quality paper. It sounds like a stupid thing to mention, but I’ve had so many paper diaries that have fallen apart because the paper was flimsy. I’ve never had this happen with a Paperchase purchase.

And that’s it! Let me know if there’s anything I’ve overlooked that you think is an overlooked essential, and may the upcoming school and work year be your most successful yet!


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