It may be coming up on Spring but it is still technically Winter and in bonnie Scotland it seems Winter always lasts that little bit longer too. After Christmas and New Year though and many hours spent indoors stuffing our faces, I think everyone in our wee family is desperate to get outdoors whatever the weather! With Aiden attending forest school and the whole family enjoying exploring beautiful Argyll and Bute, it is extremely important to have the right clothes to keep us warm and dry. Here are some of our favourites, all of which have been well and truly tried and tested in rain, gale force winds and even snow this Winter.
Let’s talk base layers first, it seems a very sensible approach. I use to think that base layers were just fancy long-johns and just for the over 90’s but live in Scotland long enough and you will soon find yourself embracing a good base layer especially to keep the kids warm in the wind, rain and snow. These base layers are from Kozi Kidz and cost £29 a set. I am an absolute sucker for cute stripe designs and these are somehow able to add warmth but remain very very thin so don’t add unnecessary layers of uncomfortable thickness. They are a big hit with the kids who also want to wear them round the house they are so comfy.
Sometimes when we drop Aiden off at forest school, Faye will decide she doesn’t want to put a jacket on to walk him from the car up the hill to his teachers and that is fine with me as long as she is wearing a good warm top like this absolute beauty from Mountain Warehouse. The Applique Kids top is now only £12.99 and available in four lovely gender neutral designs that both I and the kids thought were great. This is a really warm sweater made with great quality fabric. I love a sweater that has a design also made of fabric rather than a transfer as it means this top looks just like new after a wash, with no risk of fading.
As Aiden spends the most time out of all of us outdoors at forest school, it is extremely important he has a really extra warm jumper for those chilly Winter mornings. The Yeti Kids Stripe Fleece from Mountain Warehouse (£17.99) is extremely warm and insanely soft and fluffy. Aiden is wearing a size 5-6 here and he is a tall 3.5 year old. I would say their sizing is on the small side so definitely go a size (or 2 if tall etc) up if ordering online. Aiden adores this jumper so I am extremely happy to report it washes very well indeed. Handy when he wants to wear it every day!
It isn’t just the kids who like to be warm and dry on our outdoor adventures, I myself get particularly grumpy if I’m not correctly dressed. Mountain Warehouse have a great range of high quality, affordable pieces for women too that are exactly my style. The Idris Women’s Coul Neck Fleece from Mountain Warehouse (now £19.99) is a wonderfully stylish top which features a beautiful large collar that not only keeps you extra warm, it also makes the top that bit less just sportswear and more a very warm, very comfortable statement piece. I can wear it down the beach and then on to meet friends for a hot chocolate and not feel too casual. I have teamed it with this gilet also from Mountain Warehouse to add an extra layer if warmth around my core which allows me to not need a full jacket some days. Mountain Warehouse have a whole range of different styles of gilets so if you have never worn one before I suggest giving it a go. You’ll find you suddenly wear them everywhere.
As well as keeping Mum’s core temperature warm when outside during Winter, it is always important to me that the same is done with my kids, and I find the most effective and simplest why is by making sure they always wear a “good” coat. We could take an impromptu trip to the beach whilst out in town and even if we don’t have our wonderful base layers and fleecy jumpers on, then if we have the “good” coats in the boot of the car we are good to go for a quick adventure.
Faye is wearing the Aviemore Kids Snow Jacket – Teal (now £24.99) in a size 2- 3 years. She is tall for her age so it fits her torso perfectly although the sleeves are a touch long. The first thing that drew me to this jacket was the fact that it isn’t all pink. Now I don’t mind that Faye does actually have a lot more pink in her wardrobe than I ever thought she would (I personally really don’t like the colour so own no pink clothes myself) but I am always very happy when I find clothes that aren’t full on candy floss. Secondly, I was blown away with the quality of the jacket. It is waterproof, wind proof and warm. The attention to detail goes above and beyond with additional details such as internal buttons that fasten snugly round the waist to ensure no drafts can get in. I use to think that to get a really “good” coat you had to go the big expensive brands but Mountain Warehouse make top quality jackets with wonderful designs at extremely affordable prices.
Aiden wears the Mountain Warehouse Raptor Kids Snow Jacket (now £34.99) every day at forest school and has not yet once told me he has been cold. Again he wears a bigger size, a 5 – 6 years so I would say opt for a larger size when buying their clothes. Like his sister’s jacket, it features some really great, high quality details such as the internal fastenings to keep the warmth in and wind out. The hood is an excellent size which you often don’t get on kid’s coats so it really does cover the whole head and fastens up around the mouth to make sure the neck is not exposed to the elements. The jacket washes very well indeed as I wash it at least once a week after Aiden has rolled down a hill or had a mud fight at school. It has lost none of its integrity even with such a high frequency of washes for a jacket. It looks beautifully stylish in gorgeous slate but most importantly, it keeps Aiden extremely comfortable when outside for long periods and in adverse weather conditions.
Now if the kid’s have good jackets you better believe we grown-ups need some too to keep up with them. Kool Box have the most tempting catalogue of stunning outdoor-pursuits clothing and this Dog Sport Jacket from their Pinewood collection is no exception. Elephant in the room, we don’t currently have a dog. However I think this jacket is pretty spectacular in it’s own right so can only imagine how immensely useful it would be if you did have dogs. The design is such that is looks like a normal stylish jacket but has all these neat additions that make it uber practical for dog walkers AND as I have discovered, life as mum to two who spends a lot of time outdoors in all the Scottish seasons! (Dogs and children it seem share several simular needs – dog bags/nappy bags, snacks etc)
The jacket rain features water and dirt repellent properties which come in extremely useful as I often get muddy (child) footprints on me lifting them into car eats after forest school pickup. This means the jacket so far has not needed a wash and still looks like new. The pocket size and quantity is excellent, as is the fact that two front pockets are lined so they are waterproof and can be easily wiped out after dog treats or kids snacks have been in there. You can adjust the waist to create a gorgeous feminin fit and the hood is huge so easily cover all my hair and face to protect me from the rain and wind. I would never have thought to get a coat designed for a purpose I don’t need it for but this jacket is so stunning and has become my everyday coat that I am extremely glad I gave it a go.
Keith must be hot-blooded or something because whereas I nearly always have a jacket on, he often prefers to just wear a hoody or so when we are out walking. It does however often prove wiser to have something warmer on living in the bonnie Highlands so this fleece jacket from Pinewood is the perfect solution with no compromise needed.
The design and colouring is just stunning (they do a ladies fit one very simular that is on my wish list as I love it so!) but what this jacket really excels at is warmth, quality and practicality. It is lighter than a coat but more substantial than a jumper and features very clever material that makes it wind resistant and keeps off light showers. The pockets are an excellent size and as Keith often takes car keys plus wallet, sunglasses and kid’s snacks with him they need to be a good size. The quality to top it all off is superb and I can this is going to serve Keith for a good long while.
Now you might have heard that sometimes in Scotland it rains. Well I’m afraid that is indeed the case but a little rain never hurt anyone, unless you wanted to play on the park and end up with a wet bum. Luckily Dry Kids make these superb waterproof dungarees in both lined (£19.95) and unlined (£16.95) styles. We tried an unlined for Aiden and a lined pair for Faye and must say we were very impressed. The lined ones were good and warm enough for Faye to play in even in the snow and the unlined were ideal for warmer days at forest school. The fastenings at the top are adjustable so these one will do us quite some time I imagine. I also thought the reflective strips were a great idea especially if you liked near busy roads and had a “runner!” We have neither of these but they do add to the peace of mind. Both pairs have gone in the wash a number of times and I am glad to report they came out good as new!
Kozi Kidz also sent us some excellent waterproof dungarees and I tried to compare the two brands but found them both to be equal in quality and design. In fact a very similar design although Kozi Kidz did feature additional reflective strips up the side of the legs too. With the Essential Rain set (£49.00) you also get a lightweight rain jacket which is absolutely ideal to wear over already warm clothes or to keep in the car / buggy for emergencies as they can be folded very small. The hoods feature an absolutely huge peak which is ideal for lashings of West Coast rain. You can also buy Puddle mitts (£8.90) to finish off the outfit. We had a bit of a love/hate relationship with these. Faye wouldn’t keep them on as they were just too big for her but really she is only 18 months old. Aiden on the other hand thought they were A. lobster claws and B. ideal for picking up the wet pebbles we were collecting. They certainly kept his hands dry and clean!
Now we must not forget Keith, only the thing is we sort of did when we were taking photos. Or rather we took photos of my hansom man only the fab top that was keeping him happy and warm is under his shirt! The Endurance Mens long sleeved top (£19.99) from Mountain Warehouse is ideal for providing that extra layer of warmth on a Winter’s day without adding any bulk. So discreet infact, you might forget you are wearing it!
Finally when out exploring for any length of time with a family of four you are going to need provisions. That is to say as well as spare socks, gloves, and underpants we always need water and snacks and baby wipes and a million other items. A changing bag doesn’t really go with a trip to the beach so instead we use the Mountain Warehouse Merlin 35 litre rucksack (£24.99). Like it’s namesake, it is rather magical as it holds a ridiculous amount of “stuff” whilst remaining nice and compact so we can go straight on to our favourite chocolate cafe and not worry about navigating a massive bag through the crowds. Keith is a fan because it is black and unisex. I am happy because that means Keith carries it. It’s an all round win!
Disclosure: We were sent these products in exchange for a honest review. As always, all opinions are our own and truthful.