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Kirsty McCabe: And the winner of the Junior Design Award 2014 is…

This week our fabulous columnist reflects on being a judge at our annual parenting lifestyle awards, as the results are revealed

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Kirsty McCabe

"When I was a baby there wasn't much choice in everyday items such as cots, high chairs and buggies. Back then the only nappies were reusable, and a lot more labour intensive than today's options. When my mum says I was toilet trained early I think it was more for her benefit than mine. If I was in her position I would have done exactly the same.

These days, we parents have it easy. And I don't just mean better nappies. When you become a parent you suddenly realise just how much stuff is out there that you may or may not need. And that's the problem. How to choose among the myriad options out there? To be perfectly honest, you will not need most of what is on offer. The trick is to work out what you definitely need, what you might need and what you don't really need but you'd quite like. And just to add to the fun factor, different babies will like different things, especially if you are trying to find a sleep aid.

In the main it's all a question of budget and space, both in your house and your car. These little people can have so much stuff that there isn't room for anything else. I feel I spend every few months going through wardrobes sorting out their clothes by season so I can make room for the next size up.

Somehow I never seem to have the time to properly sort my own wardrobe which is a mix of nice clothes for work, vacuum-packed winter clothes (which I must unpack now), summer clothes that need to go away (once we return from our trip to South Africa) and some pre and post natal outfits that I must pass onto the next mum-to-be friend. Which is why on a daily basis I cannot find anything to wear.

Anyhow, I'd like to think that my parenting experience so far means I'm a good judge of baby or toddler products, whether it's nursery furniture, family holidays, clothes, toys or books. I'd also like to think I'm something of a buggy expert, having road-tested a fair few in my time.

So as you can imagine, I was thrilled and excited when I was asked to be a judge at the Junior Design Awards. Some of my favourites items were there, along with a whole host of amazing products that aim to make parents and children's lives easier (or just more fun).

I must admit to feeling a pang of broodiness at the baby items, but my husband needn't worry, as it was soon replaced by excitement when I was checking out the toys. Along with my fellow judges we examined, discussed and compared everything on the short lists for the different categories, squeezing in time for a few biscuits and a welcome glass of fizz.

The results of the Junior Design Awards have just been announced, so if you are getting ready for a new arrival or after some Christmas gift inspiration, then do take a look. We've picked out the best of the best and I hope you'll be impressed."


Kirsty McCabe writes her weekly column here on www.juniormagazine.co.uk. Follow us on Twitter: @juniormagazine every Friday to join in with the conversation

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