The Junior Design Awards 2016!
A few weeks ago I travelled in to London to meet up with some lovely folk such as Alison from Not Another Mummy Blog, Greg from The London Dad and the fantastic woman behind everything, Catherine Hudson, who also runs her own website here. We were snapchat, Instagram, pen and papered up; ready to cast our eyes over everything kid-related and, well, mark them out of ten.
It was the day of the Junior Magazine Design Awards and the scene was what can only be described as a parent haven. The multicoloured stairs of Immediate Media led us down to a sea of prams, cutlery, cots, and toys. Books, family friendly holidays, nursery ideas and oh GOSH just the best. clothes. ever.
We stopped for lunch because Catherine isn’t a slave driver, but other than that, we were judging from 9am to 5pm and it was so, so tricky! We went over whether something was practical, innovative, if it was cost effective, stylish and most importantly, something we’d buy. There were products and brands we as parents used and loved, along with others we’d not heard of but were pleased we finally had. We could also provide feedback on how certain products could be improved and attempted not to steakl anything and everything under our jackets as we left. I feel like Catherine might have noticed me shuffling out with a teepee but then half of me wonders if I should have just tried.
The #JDA2016 results have now finally been released and you can take a look here, but I’ve also decided to compile a little list of things that caught my eye on the day which some of you may be interested in too. As a side note; if specific items aren’t mentioned here, it doesn’t mean I didn’t mark them high on the day. I just think it’s nice to mention things which stood out in one way or another. Congratulations to all the winners and well done to the Junior Magazine team for hosting such a fantastic day!
(I’d also like to add there is a behind the scenes video but I haven’t embedded it because the clip they included of me is AWFUL. I was trying so hard not to laugh and ended up doing a lot of ‘errrr’ing in the process. I don’t think I’m about to become the next Good Morning Britain presenter and that is FINE)
This was a brand which ruffled feathers quite honestly. You could spot their bags a mile off and some of us loved them while others weren’t so sure. I fell in to the camp of ‘HECK YES’ and actually already have a bag of my very own, which I shall in fact not be sharing with Milo. It makes me feel like a sassy Spice Girl plus a tonne of Hollywood A listers have bought them for their brood so what does that tell you? It tells you they’re awesome, that’s what. They’re also about to launch a run of retro comic book designs and they’d make such a unique present for any Spider Man/Marvel fan. The bags are durable, eye-catching and 100% 3D fun. Can’t rate them enough if you like your little ones rocking fashion/accessories different to every other child in the playground.
So I totally wasn’t involved in the fashion side of judging at all (that was the day prior to lifestyle) but the clobber was still all out on display and come on, I was hardly going to walk past it without sneaking a look was I? Lakes And Lambs had sent in a few overalls for judging and I’ll be snapping them up for Milo just as soon as I remember to focus on one thing for longer than two minutes. Their prints are very much ‘us’; outdoorsy, fun, farmyardy and functional. The little suits feature flowers and chickens and tractors and birds; I like them as a mum because they look like they’ll keep my son warm, while Milo will like them as a child because they feature all his favourite things. It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling and emoji heart eyes that’s what I want when I’m picking clothes. I had a good look over them during our lunch break from judging and print-aside, they’re sturdy stuff and clearly made to last, plus they feature capped sleeves/ankles so no issues with material getting dragged through the mud; I think they’re adorable and a brand set to become more and more popular.
Kiddimoto sent in this fabulous, ride-on double decker bus and isn’t it just great?! Having had a nose at their website they’ve got a whole host of unique bikes, trikes, scooters and choppers too; they’re certainly not a one stop shop. Plus I like the fact you can browse for accessories such as helmets and bells at the same time; saves a dull trip to Halfords which is always a plus in my book. A big thing for me is finding products which wouldn’t look garish and unsightly in my living room (because let’s be honest, nothing ever stays in the nursery/garden) and I’d happily plonk anything from this website next to my sofa.
When Greg and I first stumbled across Stokke while visiting The Baby Show prior to Milo being born, we thought we’d found a hidden gem, a brand no-one else knew about, THE BEST SECRET EVER. Turns out, people do know about Stokke and that’s because they’re brilliant. From prams to highchairs, baby baths to nursery products; these guys are in a class of their own. We currently use the Stokke Scoot but before Milo hit toddlerdom we went for the Crusi and I’ll 100% keep it for any future babies. Its elevated height for parent/baby eye contact, the beautiful accessories and large, suitable for all terrain wheels make this a model I can’t complain about. I believe Stokke entered the Xplory to #JDA16 which I don’t personally have any experience of, but if you’re pregnant and on the hunt for a pram which will last you then they’re well worth checking out.
I really loved this product because I think it’d make a really nice, practical gift. Plus any baby bath which means you have FREE HANDS gets all the thumbs up from me. You can also separately purchase a stand so you don’t feel like your back’s about to snap every time you clean your little one; imagine that! A revelation! It’s sturdy, a smart design and something which I reckon your baby would enjoy being in rather than sloshing about in a slightly smaller square than an adult sloshes around in. A lovely little cocoon.
If your child’s old enough to hold a pen or pencil, the likelihood is that they’ve handed you 3638262 pretty great (see also: awful) pictures of stick men, dogs and blobs you can’t decipher. The Little Square Gallery have tapped in to this and come up with a really beautiful way to showcase your little one’s designs in one big piece of art and it’s in every way something you’d want up at home. You can have just the one image jazzed up and put in a frame or go all the way up to 48 mini squares of memories. If there’s anyone who’s going to make ten minutes of splashing a paint brush over some paper you grabbed out the printer tray look stylish, it’s these guys. As soon as Milo’s talents lie a little further than dragging a biro across his own hands, I’ll be looking to use their services, for sure.
This is a word of warning that you’re about to have a new brand to covet, particularly if like me, you have a little boy. I’ve started following them on Instagram, on Twitter, may as well sit outside their studio… I’m waiting for the Fall/Winter collection with baited breath and believe me, it’s lovely. They don’t have any images on their website ready that I can show you but having looked at a particularly handsome duffel coat, I can assure you this is another team of designers who know what they’re doing when it comes to little human clothes. You can already check out their baby/girl garms while you’ll have to wait ’til September to stock up on items for your boys. The patterns are funky, the fabric great quality and they’re a brand with an awesome mix of innocence and style. I really, really like ’em.
Well these guys have got it all! On the day of judging I was just really impressed with their storage solutions; they’d sent in some lovely white shelves in which to store books which although meant for a nursery, wouldn’t look out of place in your living room. Now I’ve taken a look at their site it’s given me a new place to find… erm, everything. They’ve currently got a fantastic sale running, there’s lots of wonderful wooden toys and imaginative play options, plus you can kit out a playroom or nursery within seconds. I like visiting sites which don’t have reams upon reams of products I’ve seen elsewhere and this is a real treasure trove of unique. Well worth taking a look.
What I love about Laura (the founder) is that she felt a bit alone while pregnant and struggled to find items which fit in with her style. Because it was exactly how I felt. Exactly. I didn’t want powder blues and naff Clintons teddies; I wanted modern, fun, stylish yet practical. Nothing graces her website without totally fitting the bill and it’s so nice to see how much time she spends curating everything on offer, because you never feel as though anything’s on there for the sake of a sale. They’re products, toys and artwork which Laura would want for her daughter Alba and I think that’s why she’s a trusted person to shop with. Well worth the platinum award she received. (The image below is of the Babasac by Mama Designs; another fantastic, mum-run business)