Shopping for Boys

I knew that boys didn’t like clothes shopping before I spent 2 hours proving it in Brent Cross. Two hours of trying to avoid the Arsenal shop, bribing with Nando’s, and apologizing to everyone who was tripped up and bumped into. But Boy 2 has been complaining at his lack of clothes, and more curiously, about his ‘look’ so I thought I would give it a whirl.
I write about children’s fashion for a living, and the high street’s paltry boys’ offering is nothing new to me. But I was stunned at the lack of choice, harassed by Angry Birds at every turn, and depressed that once a boy goes beyond the realms of cute (which mine certainly have) they have little alternative than to dress like a seventh division football manager. There was nothing to buy until Boy 2, by then sulking furiously, spotted a shiny navy suit. He has wanted one since Sky Fall, longing to look smart when all around him is in chaos and Dri-Fit. He tried it on. His brother said he looked like the head-master, but he was too busy styling his hair to listen. He grinned and I bought it, of course, triumphantly sharing in the fleeting retail thrill.

Suit trousers, £19.99, www.zara.com

Suit jacket, £39.99, www.zara.com

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It’s glove weather….

It’s glove weather, and I can already feel the arguments about losing them descending on us like a dank autumnal mist. Last year my stinginess took me to the three for twos at Tescos, something I regretted the moment the first tears started rolling as wet hands froze in the snow.  This year I am applying the same rule to gloves for my boys as I do to sunglasses for myself: I am buying them a decent pair each and hoping they might remember to look after them. The over sevens seem to have a deep reverence for kit- shin pads, gum shields, rugby studs are all treated with respect- but the threat of sewing new gloves to a jaunty string, posted humiliatingly through the arms of their coats, hangs in the air with the freezing fogs as they set off to school each morning.

Here are some good ones…

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Beach Life

hot chocolate by the beach fire

beach boards

YES SIR, I CAN BOOGIE There are moments, at this time of year, when the sea becomes an impenetrable wall of polystyrene boogie boards, and my father reminds anyone listening that wooden ones are far superior. Understated and decidedly retro, wooden boards cut through the surf at a faster rate than their fluorescent cousins.
The barefootkitchen.com, a shop and cafe on the Lizard peninsula, makes the original Cornish belly boards, £40, which it sells alongside kits for making hot chocolate on the beach (£20) and cosy recycled blankets to wrap up in when the tide has turned (£20).

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Children’s notebook: Nostalgic children’s clothing

Rafaela van der Heyden and Victoria Roper-Curzon's nostalgic range of children's clothing

Rafaela van der Heyden and Victoria Roper-Curzon's nostalgic range of children's clothing

Telegraph logoGrandmother’s footsteps When the sisters Rafaela van der Heyden and Victoria Roper-Curzon discovered box upon box of tissue-wrapped clothing from their childhood (much of it hand-made by their grandmother, and all lovingly stored away by their Spanish mother) they were inspired to create Elfie (elfielondon.com), their own nostalgic range of children’s clothing. Here you will find patchwork jumpers (ages 1-5, £48) and cardigans, each with a hand-crocheted frog or mouse attached (1-5, £48). Dungarees, dresses and tweed coats will follow. read more

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