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In your own time - Cheap uniforms, playground fun and food faux pas

The forums are filled with the sound of ethical debate and the smell of kebabs

The forums are filled with the sound of ethical debate and the smell of kebabs

With the new school year almost upon us, talk on the online staffroom turns to the topic of school uniforms; specifically, the cost. But it is not that they are too expensive. On the contrary, are they too cheap?

Tiffster, who reports seeing two school shirts for 99p in the local Sainsbury's and a whole uniform for under a tenner at Asda, points forum users towards an ActionAid report highlighting the role of sweatshops in the developing world in making school uniforms. "Are there any affordable ethical togs to be had for kids?" tiffster asks.

One solution is to encourage parents to buy second-hand clothes, says grumpydogwoman. "Second hand is an excellent way of reusing," she says.

Another issue bugging tiffster is that the cost of uniforms means pupils now see them as disposable. And with uniforms now cheaper than a roll of name-tags, tiffster is full of anticipation for next week: "I expect to spend the first two days of term writing names in tags with a laundry marker."

From uniforms to bad habits, coffeekid confesses to leaving the computer on all day, while Sleighbelle admits to constantly twirling her hair. "I don't realise I'm doing it but it annoys the hell out of anyone near me," she says. For manashee it is "procrastination of pretty much everything I don't really want to do, but should". And DottyLou has a rather more embarrassing secret: "I suck my thumb when I'm tired. I am nearly 50, and have done this all my life. The shame." It's always in private, so that's alright.

Talking of food, autumnleaf2 wants to know if anyone loves the things everyone else seems to hate. In autumnleaf2's own fridge of shame are McDonald's, KFC and "great big greasy kebabs". Bethannie lists anchovies, sprouts, smoked eel and raw meat among her favourites, while doomzebra has a soft-spot for innards: "Offal of any sort is fantastic. My butcher loves me for it." And if that doesn't make your eyes water, try a bit of what Beestoni is having: "I love pickled beetroot and will eat it until my eyes sweat."

With all this food, it is handy to have a skill like tartetatin's. "I'm *** fantastic with a skipping rope," she says. "My daughters stared with delight as I skipped for them at top speed." Inq can still turn cartwheels, although she does require extra precautions now she's more mature: "It does now need a strong floor and an on-hand paramedic." Giggirl can walk on her hands, juggle and knit, but kibosh has a rather less wholesome skill: "Burping at will." Some things you just never forget.






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