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Meet the Junior Design Awards Guest Judges

They came, they perused, they judged… meet the purveyors of impeccable taste who helped us choose our winners in the Junior Design Awards 2013

Cathy Olmedillas dreams of a luxury holiday courtesy of luxury family tour operator, W&O
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Cathy Olmedillas, founding editor of Anorak Magazine, and mother of Oscar, 11

Who is your favourite designer? Donald Gomme, the man who invented G-Plan furniture. Such elegant pieces! I love 50s interiors and have an obsession with sideboards. I have two , one of which I have loaned to a friend as I had no space for a second one in my flat. But frankly, if I had a mansion I’d buy more!

What qualities do you look for in a well-designed product? I favour simple, well made and durable things. Whether it’s a piece of furniture, a book or a stroller, I always look for something that is going to last and I don't mind paying a premium for that. I think there are too many things in our modern parenting world that are faddy, tap into our insecurities and don't last.

What was your most treasured childhood possession? When I was a child, I used to write letters to my Grandma Louise every month. When I turned 18, she gave me a box full of my letters and drawings. It was a lovely surprise, as I had no idea she had kept them. They are special because they remind me of the wonderful friend she was and they send me back to moments in my childhood, which I would have otherwise forgotten about.

Do you have any treasured family heirlooms? My grandad’s ring, the portrait of my mysterious  and glamorous Spanish grandmother (whom I have never met), and my grandma’s 1920s drinking glasses which she received as a wedding present. They are all precious because they are a link to my family’s chaotic and intriguing past.

Which single piece of baby equipment couldn't you live without? When Oscar was born, we were in the process of getting our house renovated so I didn't have space for much baby equipment. When I look at the stuff you get for babies now, I feel like Oscar was brought up in the Middle Ages! However, the one thing we couldn't have lived without was his Maclaren stroller. As the house was always full of builders, we loved going out and exploring the world. Our stroller was brilliant because it was light and you could fold it easily.

What’s piece of baby kit did you find most useful? I honestly can’t remember us having that much different equipment or gadgets, except a bottle sterilizer…

Which toys and products have stood the test of time? Books! I have been buying Oscar the books I used to love when I was a child. I used to read them to him until he was old enough to read them himself. Some like Barbapapa, Noddy or Tintin have stood the test of time and he has enjoyed them immensely. The Famous Five, not so much: he found them a little quaint!

Is there any childcare product you wish someone would invent? I think there are probably enough products out there. However, I think we could all do with something that reminds us on a daily basis to relax and enjoy every stage of our child’s development.

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