As it happens, outwear generally for children is a thing that it is quite hard to get right. I am now no longer at the stage where my children scream like banshees and run off when you try to put their coats on – thank god – but there are still other problems.

For the last five years, I have been surprised every Jan-March by how cold it suddenly gets. And then how wet. Then how cold and wet. And then there I am, scrabbling around in the sales at the start of April, buying up leftover warm things, which my children only need to wear for 2 months before it warms up again and then they grow out of them and it’s all been a hideous waste of money.

So this year finally, finally, I am going to get my act together and I think I have hit on the perfect combination of outerwear items that will see children from November – end of April ’17.

1 The first item is an excellent raincoat (see the John Lewis Zinfandel of previous post)

2 Next, one of these super-lightweight parkas from Uniqlo. They are so light and so warm that the child barely feels them on, and then can dash about unhampered by binding puffa. You can put them in the washing machine and they dry almost instantly. Not especially windproof, but for very cold-wind days you can layer this under the windproof Zinfandel or over a fleece (q.v.).

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3 For mild-to-nippy weather, (i.e Oct-December, early May), and for layering under the raincoat on cold + wet days I have also got this sleeveless puffa, also from Uniqlo.

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4 A good fleece, which my kids have never had. By that I mean a light, close-fitting one that zips all the way up the front, so you don’t have to jam it on over their heads. Is there any man-made material better than fleece when it comes to children? Unbreakable, light, non-sweaty and supremely washable.

But I have had trouble finding a good, functional fleece from the usual outlets (Boden, John Lewis, Lands End kids) so I went straight to the top, to North Face, and bought each child one of these little jackets.

At £45 each, they are not cheap, but I bought both a size too large so they will last us at least two years. And I feel like a really technical piece of winter kit is what’s been missing all this time. I may in fact have gone too early on these in a fit of neurotic hoarding – so perhaps wait until new stock comes in around October and there’s more choice of colours and sizes if you want to follow suit.

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5 A snoody. This is a tubular scarf, also made from the sacred fleece, purchasable only from Trotters. It protects fragile little necks from cruel east winds and can be pulled up over the ears in emergencies. You went mad for it last year and crashed the website in a buying frenzy, so you’ve probably all got one. For those who missed out, they aren’t available yet but I will post a link when they go on sale. Essential winter wear for the whole family – but especially for the under-10s.

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I’m on holiday next week so no Spike for a bit, but I’ll be back soon xxx