It’s that time again *sniff*. This time last year we were shopping to furnish Charlie’s first university room and it was honestly such a hard thing to do. The house seemed so empty and the dog sulked for about two weeks (Charlie’s her favourite). I know it’s always a bit emotional when the kids go back to school: the little ones start in reception when you still feel like they’re your baby, and the bigger ones seem so tiny when they start secondary school. And then it seems like seconds later and you’re saying goodbye to a kid who’s off to uni and it’s pretty darn hard. This year, he’s moving into his own flat with a couple of friends (how can this be possible? He was only just starting school, like, yesterday!), so we’ve been on the hunt for reasonably priced, good quality home essentials for university living, and where better to start than good old M&S?
Let’s start with bedlinen, shall we? There are some great options. This willow printed bedding set is just £12.50 for a double, which is incredibly good value – it’s got really good reviews as well, which I always find reassuring. There are some rather cool matching cushions too, and you can add this snuggly charcoal fleece throw, as modelled by the lovely Lyra here, for an extra comfy layer.
I’m also really impressed with these towels. A lot of the time, essentials ranges only ever come in white, which if you’re the mother of teenage sons, you’ll know is a disastrous colour. These ones come in grey, which is much better, and they’re only £6 for a bath sheet too.
I’ve said it before, but if they’re sharing a flat at uni, it’s quite easy to find out who you’re sharing with on the university Facebook group, then they can at least chat about who’s bringing what so the flat doesn’t end up with 6 different toasters and kettles. Of course, a couple of pans are always useful, and there’s a great value entry level non-stick pan range with prices from about £5 for a frying pan or a three piece pan set for £20, plus of course a whole range of decent quality spatulas, spoons, mashers, scissors and other assorted bits and bobs starting from about £4.
A 16 piece stainless steel cutlery set for £12 and a 12 piece white dinner set for £12.50 will see them okay for dining (although weirdly, many of these will never be seen again), and then you can just add a couple of mugs – we love these slogan mugs (I’d like to buy the ‘clever clogs’ one but I guess ‘party animal’ might be more appropriate!
And finally, as we’re now super-experienced at this sort of thing, here’s a small list of what not to buy. Don’t bother buying those ‘uni kits’ that you see advertised. All the stuff is super cheap, but it’s also super cheap, if you see what I mean. It will last five minutes and it’s full of stuff you absolutely don’t need. It’s best to go for some decent basics that will hopefully last the time. Also, don’t bother taking a TV – everything’s available on laptop, and don’t take anything precious or expensive – communal living means that other people will be handling your stuff and might not be as careful as you.
And lastly GOOD LUCK! if you’re heading to uni, and big hugs if you’re the mama (or indeed the devastated pooch) that’s sending them off. Have a wonderful weekend!