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MFM Awards 2020 Winners – Lifestyle: travel, fashion, books and gifts

Award-winning travel, fashion, books and gifts for 2020

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Our judges looked at a wide variety of products in this category, always with an eye for how appealing and useful each entry would be to families with young children, how easy to use, and what kind of value for money they offered.

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Our at-home testers ranged from pregnant mums-to-be seeking comfy but stylish maternity fashion, to young readers enjoying their first books and mini fashionistas testing clothing and shoes. Categories here covered both the practical (such as travel cots) and the thoughtful (new baby gifts and subscriptions). Regardless of the criteria, our team of judges scored carefully to ensure the best quality and value rose to the top.

Children’s fashion

Newborn and baby fashion range

Key features we tested/judged: quality, design, variety within the range, ease of use, appeal to parents, value for money

GOLD – FRUGI, £6-£35

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Colourful and bold but also gender neutral so can be used for boys and girls. Very practical to have in the wardrobe as it's lovely with anything
Cassey, mum of 2

Why it’s a winner:  It’s not the first time this organic clothing brand has picked up a MFM award, and it continued to impress our home testers and judges this year. We particularly liked the premium organic cotton they use, with one of our testers calling it “the supersoft fabric a newborn deserves”. Testers found the material to be “thick and chunky” but doesn’t feel itchy or uncomfortable to touch. The collection also gained added points for details like coloured poppers as guides for sleepy parents, an envelope neckline and two-way zips.

Tester Janet, mum of 3, says: “Lovely design and super soft. A really nice gift.”

SILVER –  SILVER CROSS, £10-£60

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Why it’s a winner: Silver Cross’ first ever clothing collection didn’t disappoint. With its stylish neutral greys, powder blues and pastel pink tones, soft knits and thick jerseys, our home testers felt thought had definitely gone into each and every one of the pieces. We unanimously feel this is true of the attention to detail found on the Silver Cross pram suit, with poppers to hold mittens on, detachable booties, neck-to-toe buttons and warm, fleece lining. Priced at the top end of many parents’ budgets, our testers felt that with added bit of luxury and quality, this collection is worth paying that bit extra.

Tester Andy, dad of 1 says: “We loved that the inside of the pram suit was fleece lined helping keep our little one nice and warm. They paid particular attention to what parents want in baby clothing.”

BRONZE – EMILE et ROSE, £20-£50

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Why it’s a winner:  Emil et Rose are all about classic, timeless pieces for babies and toddlers, and the range went down really well with our parent judges, who called the pieces “very sophisticate” and having “the cute factor”. The traditional style works particularly well for special occasions, but the babygros really impressed with their true-to-size fit and simple design.

Tester Chelsie, mum of 1, says: “Excellent quality of soft, comfortable fabric. Doesn’t restrict child. Beautiful designs.”

Finalist: ZIPPYUP Babygrow


Children’s clothing range

Key features we tested/judged – value for money, effectiveness, variety within the range, quality, ease of use, appeal to parents and children

GOLD – WET WEDNESDAYS, £10-£45

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100% happy. Kept my son warm and dry in treacherous rain, which hasn’t been the case with other waterproof clothing
Nadia, mum of 1

Why it’s a winner: Dry kids are happy kids and our young testers wore these ‘very practical and cosy’ suits in all kinds of weathers. From extreme winds, cold dark winter nights or treacherous rain, our testers trusted Wet Wednesday suits to deliver, with feedback including: “completely dry”, “cosy”, “warm and water resistant”. We also felt Wet Wednesday suits are great for the playground too.  One of our little testers had ‘no issues climbing, running, jumping and sliding,’ her mum says. We’re impressed with the quality fabric and finish of these colourful, soft, fleeced-lined suits and the little extras like the high viz reflectors front and back. And of course, they’re the best for splashing in muddy puddles.

Tester Ali, mum of 1, says; “Amazing product. Lovely, fun colours and designs. Super practical. Could save the day on a rainy day.”

JOINT SILVER – TOBY TIGER, £4.99-£25.99

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Why it’s a winner: Bright and colourful fun prints made this quality organic range of clothes really stand out for our testers. Certified by GOTS and the Soil Association, this eco-friendly clothing appeals especially to our conscious testers, who really liked the idea of being able to buy environmentally friendly clothes in fun designs. They also loved the super-soft feel and high quality, organic cotton that’s made to last, finding that even after several washes the garments were still very soft to touch, especially compared to cheaper alternatives.

? “Definitely worth the money. Fab unisex designs, soft feel, washes well, organic and sustainable, good price for everything you get — it ticked all my boxes!” –

JOINT SILVER – SOCK ONS, £3.99

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Why it’s a winner: We found Sock Ons do exactly what they say: they keep socks on your little one’s feet and not in some hidden corner. Our testers were sold on this baby essential – “They work! They make life easier”. And not one of our testers struggled to get the stretchy foot garment on their baby. In fact, parents told us their little ones don’t even have a clue it’s even happening. ‘They feel very natural. My daughter didn’t even realise they were on her feet,’ a tester tells us. From the movers who wriggle out of their socks to the little pickles who pull off their socks, it’s nice to say us parents are truly in control with Sock Ons.

Tester Jessica, mum of 3, says: “They stay on. We didn’t once lose socks. A good quality product and definitely worth every penny.”

JOINT BRONZE – KIDUNK CLOTHING SYSTEM, £24.99-£34.99

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Why it’s a winner: Our little testers had great fun wearing this innovative, mix n match playsuit, while our parent testers could look on without a care. “Brilliant for wet and windy days or playing out and about,” one carefree tester reported. We loved the way the tops and bottoms can zip together to make an all-in-one suit or detach, great for those emergency toilet visits! As well as a zipper design to make shedding layers easier, we rated the combination of Teflon toughness on the outside and fleecy soft on the inside. Testers also found it breathable, stain resistant and easy to wash.

Tester Chloe, mum of 1, says: “I like the fun designs and the fact the top and bottoms can be zipped together.”

JOINT BRONZE – ALEX AND ALEXA, £2-£2,000

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Alex and Alexa appeals to fashion-conscious kids and their parents who want quality, designer clothing and don’t mind paying for it. Our testers say the quality of the clothing featured on this global online kids’ fashion retailer is undeniable. “Compared to a cheaper version, you can see the difference,” one of our testers revealed about the snowsuit she’s been testing. And it’s been noted by our testers the Alex and Alexa range has something for everyone in their immense range, as “there are so many pretty designs to choose from”.

Tester Marie, mum of 1, says: “Great range of quality products and designs. Would definitely be interested in purchasing from this company in the future.”


Children’s shoe range

Key features we tested/judged – value for money, appeal to children and parents, effectiveness, quality, durability, variety within range, ease of use

JOINT GOLD – START RITE, from £44.99

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I love everything about this brand. Very high-quality school shoes. The sole has a good grip and the shoes still show no wear
Laura, mum of 4

Why it’s a winner: Start Rite is a brand our testers would happily recommend – they felt the range is ideal for anyone with school age children, as they last well, with no scuffs after wearing. With quality shoes that look-good and feel-good, our testers trust that these school shoes will survive the rigours of the playtime. And with softer leather uppers and the durable, flexible sole, designed using Biomechanics research into kids’ movement, our young testers found them comfy, well-padded, well designed and sturdy.

Tester Alana, mum of 2, says; “Very easy to use! My 4 year-old loves that they are simple enough for her to put on herself as it makes her feel more independent.”

JOINT GOLD – KEEN FOOTWEAR, £30-£35

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Look stylish and fun for kids to wear. They're durable, well-built and well-padded
Laura, mum of 1

Why it’s a winner: Closed-toe sandals are a big hit with our testers and their little adventurers. Great in the summer, one tester took hers on holiday, on the beach and says ‘they dry off quickly and didn’t rub even when wet. Very light and easy to pack’. We love the rugged durability of this product, and they look good too. There’s a rainbow range of colours to choose from – so sure to appeal to even the fussiest child. Thanks to the pull cord on the front that tightens up the shoe up, judges found they’re a cinch to put on, even for small hands.

Tester Penny, mum of 3, says; My daughter wore these on holiday. The bright pink colour was a perfect choice for her. She wore them on the beach, in the sea, on adventure days and walking from our hotel to the restaurants. A really great all-rounder!”

SILVER – BOBUX AW19 COLLECTION, £22-65

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Why it’s a winner: Bobux is a much-loved by parents who want ultimate comfort and style for tiny feet. Now they’ve released their first ever waterproof shoes and trainers. One tester called the Grass Court trainers ‘a godsend’, while another could confidently say they’re splash proof having let her son jump in plenty of puddles. We can’t enough of the modern styling and brilliant colours in this range – all 11 of them! The secure Velcro double straps got countless mentions too. And at a high-end price our testers wouldn’t hesitate in buying another pair, feeling “you do get a quality product that you can hand-me-down”.

Poppy, mum of 2, says: “The perfect every day and waterproof shoe at the perfect price point. Our son enjoys these shoes a lot and is quick to get them in preparation for going outside. As a parent, they have everything in a shoe I would be looking for.”

BRONZE – STEP ONS, £14.99

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Why it’s a winner:  Step Ons are distinctive half-sock, half shoes that our testers felt should be on every parent wish list! We really liked the mix of a soft, elasticated upper and sturdy, well-designed rubber sole, a practical but comfy option for little ones who are just finding their feet. Judges rated this product highly for quality, usefulness and flexibility, finding them to be good value as they work just as well as slippers as an outside shoe.

Tester Sarah, mum of 3, says: “Good value, lovely and colourful, and most importantly, a comfortable transition shoe to baby’s first shoe. Machine washable, which is really handy for grubby toddlers.”

Finalist: Mocc Ons


Family Travel

Family holiday provider

Key features we tested/judged: locations, quality of accommodation, family-friendly facilities, value for money

GOLD – TOTS TO TRAVEL: TOTS EXCLUSIVE EXPERIENCE RESORTS

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Totally set up with kids in mind and not too expensive
MadeForMums Deputy Editor Helen, mum of 3

Why it’s a winner: While many holiday providers claim to be family-friendly, our judging panel felt Tots To Travel went the extra mile to ensure parents with young children have everything they can for a stress-free break. Tots to Travel say their resorts, in sunny spots such as Tenerife, Lanzarote, Portugal, Spain and France, are ‘tailor-made for under 5s’, and our judges were convinced that little ones were really well catered for. A clear equipment list – “love the fact you get a list of everything that will be provided for your child, so you know what you do/don’t need to take with you” – and decent programme of kids’ activities also impressed.

Helen, MFM Deputy Editor and mum of 3, says: “This looks amazing for parents with small kids – I love the toys and books in each villa and the fun kids’ bedrooms. I also really rate the list you’re sent of equipment they have and activities they do for the kids. It looks very well thought through.”

SILVER – OLIVER’S TRAVELS 

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Why it’s a winner: Family villa holidays with a twist? Our judges agreed that Oliver’s Travels’ “beautiful quirky properties” are a lovely option for families. While not all properties are suitable for little ones, being able to filter child and baby/toddler-friendly options gave a wide choice of “well equipped and safe” options. Properties where home-made breakfast pastries are delivered daily, swimming pools are child-proofed and Disney-like turrets delight prompted feedback such as, “Lovely holidays, amazing villas, you’d be guaranteed a fantastic stay”.

Helen, MFM Deputy Editor and mum of 3, says: “I’ve been to one of their villas and they are gorgeous! You pay a fair whack but you do get what you pay for. You just filter for family-friendly and there is a lot of choice in that category.”

BRONZE – SKI BEAT 

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Why it’s a winner: Our judges were sold at the mention of catered family adventures on the slopes. “No busman’s holiday making dinner and washing up while you’re away” thanks to dedicated chalet hosts who cook and clean throughout your break. The promise of early teatimes for kids, warm boot rooms and plenty of space to play in the snow also earned our panel’s approval.

Tester Tara Breathnach, MFM Content Editor and mum of 1, says: “Lots of lovely features – all offered with kids in mind. Great if you are a skiing family.”


Family travel product under £15

Key features we tested/judged – ease of use, travel friendly, price, durability, product quality, design, longevity

GOLD – SPLASH ABOUT NEW HAPPY NAPPY, £10.99

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Lots of lovely designs and colours to choose from. Easy to wash and use over and over
Sarah, mum of 2

Why it’s a winner: The Splash About New Happy Nappy is well designed, durable and allows freedom of movement for your baby in the water, according to our testers. Its reusability is an added benefit – parents loved the fact it saves money and waste compared to disposable swim nappies, as well as reducing the amount that needs to be packed for holiday swims.Our judges noted that the fit was snug around the legs and waist to prevent leaks and felt that due to the material their little ones were still very comfortable and happily swimming.

Tester Laura, mum of 1 says: “All the designs are bright and colourful, very eye catching for children. Works as it should and effective when baby had done a wee and small poo. Great quality, it’s held up well through lots of washes. I would absolutely purchase another one of these when my daughter gets bigger.”

SILVER – TOTSBOTS REUSABLE SWIM NAPPY, £10.99

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Why it’s a winner: The Totsbots Reusable Swim Nappy secures across babies’ waist with hook & loop fastens – it has a lightweight fleece lining that’s 100% breathable. Our judges noted that removing the nappy in the case of a “number 2” would be greatly aided by not having to pull the nappy off like pants. Elasticated waist and legs help to secure against leaks and the fun and colourful designs were met favourably by our baby testers. Our parents noted how soft yet easy to wash the materials were.

Tester Annabelle, mum of 1, says: “This is a product for the environmentally conscious parent. Apart from wanting a product to be successful in fulfilling its intended purpose, we want products that do so in a guilt-free way. The design was fun and colourful. My 20 month old is interested in absolutely everything. The colours most definitely got her attention.”

BRONZE – ORCHARD TOYS LANDMARK LOTTO, £5

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Why it’s a winner: Perfectly sized for travel and at an extremely budget friendly price, we felt the Landmark Lotto game is perfect to help pass time travelling and keeping young ones away from screens. The fact that the game is educational and tied to travelling are added benefits. Players have passports to fill so even more perfect if you’re actually going overseas. Beyond the game – it’s a great conversation starter about different landmarks and where they are located.

Kevin, dad of 2, says: “A nice educational game that’s excellent value for money. Fairly simple concept for a game that our daughter enjoyed playing. Well made, nice packaging and excellent value for money.”

Finalists: Litecup Baby | Orchard Toys Llamas in Pyjamas | Science of Skin Solution for Bites


Family travel product £15-£30

Key features we tested/judged – ease of use, travel friendly, price, durability, product quality, design and longevity

GOLD – SPLASHABOUT UV SUN & SEA SUIT, £24.99

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Slick and simple design with lots of variety for children of different ages and genders. The back zip mechanism makes it easy to put on and take off
Ben, dad of 3

Why it’s a winner: Baby swim experts Splashabout have cleverly combined swimsuit and wetsuit components to make this sun & sea suit a travel must have, in our judge’s opinion. We found the side panels give great flexibility for endless splashing fun and loved the 1mm thick neoprene, as it helps to maintain a comfortable core temperature. Bonus points too for having UBF50+ sun protection to help little ones skin stay safe while exposed to prolonged time in the sun. As well as being comfortable our young judges didn’t mind at all getting in & out of the suit – helped by the bright, child friendly designs.

Ellie, mum of 1 says: “The material feels high quality and the product looks super stylish. I had no issues putting this on my son as the zip down the back makes it easy. I would highly recommend the suit to those with a lifestyle like my own family’s living on the coast and spending a lot of time at the beach – it would definitely be worth it.”

JOINT SILVER – BAMBINO MIO REUSABLE NAPPY AND SWIM TOP SET, £29.99 each

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Why it’s a winner: This clever, planet-friendly swim set comes with 2 reusable nappies and a rash top, meaning if an accident does occur (or frequent trips to the pool on holiday) the extra nappy can be used while the other is washed and dried. Judges felt the rash top was great quality, providing UBF 50+ protection and was flexible to ensure lots of freedom of movement. We also found the lined nappies are soft inside and leak proof – a great travel item but with even more use if you visit your local pool while at home.

Tester Jo, mum of 1, says: “I would say this product is definitely worth the money for what you would save on buying disposable swim nappies. The set is well thought through and good quality. The swim set did a great job when we went swimming. It works exactly the same as disposable nappies but looks way cuter and we didn’t have any problems with leakage.”

JOINT SILVER – BABIATOR SUNGLASSES, £22.50 – £38

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Why it’s a winner: Designed specifically for little ones aged 0-12 years old, the Babiator sunglasses range offers 100% UVA/UVB protection – perfect for travels to sunnier climes and of course use at home too. Judges felt the range was stylish, but loved that as well as looking good they are also designed to be durable for the extra bumps and drops their younger uses might throw at them. In fact, Babiator claim the frames and lenses are “virtually indestructible” and are so confident of this that they offer a guarantee covering the first year of use.

Tester Ben, dad of 3, says: “Great product that has clearly been researched well to provide the level of protection needed. Price point initially seems steep at the £30 end but the free replacement guarantee for lost or damaged glasses (in the first year) alleviates that somewhat.”

Available from: Babiators and Amazon

JOINT BRONZE – SPLASHABOUT GO SPLASH SWIM VEST, £17.99

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Why it’s a winner: Our judges loved the way the Go Splash Swim Vest helps little ones stay afloat in the pool by giving them additional buoyancy. It must be used with adult supervision, but is ideal for enjoying the sea or pool whilst travelling with the extra comfort that it provides. Unlike armbands, little ones can enjoy more freedom of movement and the vest is puncture proof, doesn’t need inflating – yet still packs nice and flat for suitcases.

Elisa, mum of 1, says: “It helped my son stay afloat in the water and held him in the position to swim. My son is getting there with swimming so this helped him practice his arms without worrying about staying afloat at the same time.”

JOINT BRONZE – MONKEY MONKEY OLIVIA KIDS SUNGLASSES, £20

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Why it’s a winner: We loved the kid-friendly, bright and colourful designs in this range, and the quality – Monkey Monkey take eye protection for kids seriously noting that their still developing eyes have increased exposure to sun rays yet need more protection than adults. Our young judges loved wearing the glasses and checking themselves out in the mirror!

Rebecca, mum of 3 says: “The sunglasses are beautiful, and were tested by my 5-year-old little boy. He loved the colour and design! They’re really cute glasses which would be brilliant in summer. Also easy to keep clean.”


Family travel product over £30

Key features we tested/judged – ease of use, travel friendly, price, durability, product quality, design and longevity

JOINT GOLD – PUROQUIET ACTIVE NOISE CANCELLING HEADPHONES, £89.99

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Perfect if you’re worried that your child ears will get damage from the high volumes. Also great to use when on a train or bus as the background noise is blocked out
Jasmin, mum of 3

Why it’s a winner: These high quality and effective noise cancelling headphones were an instant hit with our judges. Parents loved not having to be concerned about ear damage from listening at high volumes, as the PuroQuiet headphones are volume limited to 85db. They are also lightweight and fold flat – ideal for space saving whilst traveling. Additionally, the PuroQuiet headphones boast 16 hours of battery life and are made from tough aluminium ready to withstand active play. Our young testers really enjoyed being able to block outside noise and focus on their activities.

Tester Jasmin, mum of 3 adds: “My 12 year old and my three year old use these headphones, they are a great fit for both boys with the adjustable band. We found the sound is very clear and my eldest loves the fact he can’t hear anything else in the background once on.”

JOINT GOLD – SNOOZESHADE PLUS DELUXE, £34.99

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SnoozeShade has worked perfectly for my son. The naps he’s had so far with this on have been a major improvement and avoided having an overtired toddler
Jasmin, mum of 3

Why it’s a winner: Most parents will agree that a good nap for a baby or toddler is a much-needed recharge, and our judges felt this was a great solution for countering daylight. The SnoozeShade offers a helping hand for naps in buggies – especially on holiday – as it shades and protects while still allowing air to circulate. Our judges tested the universal fit on different models of buggies and still found it effective. Our young judges got some quality rest time!

Tester Dominic, dad of 1, says: “Quick and easy to put on and pull off. Window/zip work effectively too. Seems very durable and well made. It worked effectively as the darkness helped prolong naps when in the pram. UV protection is an extra plus too.”

SILVER – SLEEPYHEAD CABANA KIT, From £56

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Why it’s a winner: Light and extremely quick and easy to assemble, the Sleepyhead Cabana Kit provides a shaded area designed to fit the uber-popular Sleepyhead Deluxe Plus Pod. As well as shading from the sun, we liked the waterproof base, ideal for providing protection in the garden, with bonus points for the integrated mosquito net. As the Cabana Kit can fold up so small our judges felt it was an ideal travel companion, especially with a younger baby.

Tester Tara, mum of 3 says: “A lovely product – gorgeous quality and a great idea for holidays. Like the Sleepyhead itself, the Cabana is fairly pricey, but it does encourage the use of the Sleepyhead outdoors as well as for indoor use, therefore making the Sleepyhead that bit more versatile.”

JOINT BRONZE – CARGOSEAT, £54.99

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Why it’s a winner: The CarGoSeat cleverly combines a child travel case with a booster seat, and our little judges loved having their own travel bag and were excited to use it as a booster seat too. We see this product being great for trips to grandparents, travel with car rental and even in taxis on city breaks.

Tim, dad of 2 says: “I think giving the kids their own travel bag is a great idea and doubling up as a booster is really good idea and takes the fuss out of trying to arrange car seats when you arrive at your destination.”

JOINT BRONZE – SEAT TO SLEEP TRAVEL NEST, £35

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Why it’s a winner: Our parent testers loved this inflatable seating aid suitable for 3 – 10 year olds, which made a comfy solution for naps on long or frequent journeys. They felt it gave good support and the padding eliminated the discomfort of hard arm rests by providing a soft and smooth surface to aid peaceful rest and sleep. Judges also liked the face it stores easily, folding down small and coming with its own travel pouch.

Tester Samantha, mum of 1 says: “The Seat To Sleep Travel Nest is a wonderful product. My daughter really likes it, she finds it very comfortable, so much so she even uses it indoors on the sofa! It’s very high quality, yet still lightweight and easy to carry around etc! The features for inflating and deflating make it easy to use in a rush when travelling.”

Finalists: Osprey Poco AG Plus | Red Castle The Babynomade Protect


Travel cot

Key features we tested/judged – comfort for little one, ease of use, size and portability when folded, quality, value for money, overall design and additional features

GOLD – JOIE KUBBIE SLEEP, £99

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At a very reasonable price this product as a travel cot alone is essential – being able to use it as a bedside cot as well makes it very desirable
Laura, mum of 2

Why it’s a winner: Versatile and functional, the Joie Kubbie Sleep is a travel cot which doubles as a side sleeping cot – a double win with our judges. We felt the design was really user-friendly, and loved that it grows with your little one from bassinet to playpen.  Suitable from newborn, the lift and lower side panel make this cot a real game changer especially during bleary-eyed night feeds and nappy changes; a feature none of the other travel cots in our awards offered. Our testers loved the user-friendly fastenings, easy transportation and (most importantly) how well their little ones slept.

Tester Gemma, mum of 3, says: “It’s not just a one use travel cot; you get a night time level, nap level and take these away and you get a playpen for your toddler. You will easily get a few years use out of the Joie Kubbie Sleep. The quality is amazing and colour is lush. I felt my baby would be very safe in this travel cot.”

JOINT SILVER – MICRALITE SLEEP & GO, £175

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Why it’s a winner: The minimalist design of the Micralite Sleep & Go is eye-catching and unique. It functions effectively as a newborn crib, infant cot bed and playpen; the whole time being easy to switch between different modes and move from place to place. As well as being good looking – our judges found the Micralite Sleep & Go one of the easiest in the category to fold up and down. This is the modern, fresh, quality build we expect from Instagram-ready brand Micralite.

Tester Victoria, mum of 1 says: “This cot is very well made, going together and packing down both very easily and quickly. The tapered shape of this cot means that, when using it bed-side there will be a small gap between your bed and the cot. The bassinet insert and thick mattress means it can be used from birth in place of a moses basket, and will very effectively grow with your child.”

JOINT SILVER – VENTURE ROMA TRAVEL COT, £59.99

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Why it’s a winner: An effective travel cot at a budget friendly price, judges found the Venture Roma travel cot does exactly what it needs to do – provides your little one with a good night’s sleep while being safe, lightweight and easy to carry. Putting the cot up and down is so easy some of our testers didn’t even need the instructions. There isn’t a baby insert or bassinet with this travel cot so; it also doesn’t double up as a playpen. Ideal for holidays, overnight stays and camping.

Tester Anjli, mum of 1 says: “Really good price for a lightweight and effective product. Easy to use and does the job. It also looks nice and is very easily transportable. My daughter slept in it fine so it did the job. It looks nice and I like the fact that I can put other bits in the bag to go alongside the cot when I was using it out and about – such as the sheet.”

Available to buy from Amazon, Venture and eBay

BRONZE – LITTLELIFE FEATHERLITE TRAVEL COT, £149.99

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Why it’s a winner: The LittleLife brand are known for their family focussed travel and outdoor solutions. At just 3kg this travel cot will not make a huge impact on your baggage allowance and even folds small enough to fit in a large suitcase. Our judges loved that it had a zip down side so could also be used as a playpen. They also praised the design and the thoughtfulness of including a matching sheet. We were also impressed by how strong the travel cot felt despite its lightweight.

Tester Karen, mum of 1 says: “It feels very well made and even though it is light, it feels sturdy and safe for baby. The finishes are good and the overall aesthetic is really nice and premium. Baby seemed happy in it and was safe and secure. It’s a really good travel cot for the money and the quality is good so it will last.”


Books, Gifts, Subscriptions & Apps

Baby & toddler book

Key features we tested/judged – value for money, product design, quality, durability, story, learning opportunities, suitability for age group

GOLD – THAT’S NOT MY FLAMINGO…, £6.99

thatsnotmyflamingo
My children love feeling the different patches of material that comes in every book. They'll want to re-read the books over and over
Jess, mum of 2

Why it’s a winner: Our mini testers loved the tactile features of the latest book in the That’s Not My range, while parents rated the quality of the solid, glossy, thick cardboard, good enough to gift. We felt the story is simple but engaging; asking little ones to identify their own Flamingo from the others in the book. It also scored points for the lovely illustrations and chunky texture of the pages – “perfect for little hands”.

Tester Katie, mum of 1 says: “My 14 months old particularly liked the texture of the ‘feet’ in this book, which is like the loop of Velcro. She could scrape her nails on it. The illustrations are lovely, and finding the mouse on each page brings a new dimension to the book.”

SILVER – A SONG FOR BEAR, £10.95

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Why it’s a winner: This book charmed us with the way it celebrates being an individual and valuing unique qualities; a lesson that all children will benefit from learning early.  Judges liked the lovely illustrations and thought the nice rhyming text made it fun for adults to read as well as helping babies and toddlers enjoy each page even more.

Tester Tristan, dad of 2, says: “My toddler had lots of questions to ask as we worked our way through the book and enjoyed pointing out the different animals he could identify. The slow down at the end as they tire was helpful when it came to putting him to bed.”

BRONZE – TAF TOYS KOALA TUMMY TIME BOOK, £17.99

tafttoyskimmykoalatummytimebook

Why it’s a winner: We loved the 2-in-1 factor – an enjoyable and tactile baby book, plus a helpful aid to encourage tummy time. Testers felt this was a great option for babies who are reluctant to spend time on their front, with one saying it did a great job as her little one loved touching the crinkly pages and looking in the mirror. It’s not cheap, but testers noted the “lovely” quality, which even withstood weeks of chewing!

Tester Sharon, mum of 3 says: “Quality is absolutely lovely, lots of small details, so much to see and explore! The black and white pages are great for the very early stages and it’s lovely that babies can continue and play with the book as they get older and discover more features, such as tags, different textures and even a teething toy!”

Finalists: Thames & Hudson How to Light Your Dragon


Book for children 5-8 years old

Key features we tested/judged: quality of text, quality of illustrations (if featured), appeal to children, value for money

GOLD – ASK A SCIENTIST (DORLING KINDERSLEY), £9.99

aska-ascientist
A funny, smart book for science-fact lovers – and for parents bombarded with endless questions
MadeForMums deputy editor Helen, mum of 3

Why it’s a winner: Judges found this amazingly detailed fact book to be both very funny (check out the sections on poo and bogies) and also properly scientific, with straightforward but not over-simplified answers from Dr Robert Winston. Our testers agreed it’s a brilliant resource for the curious child – and not too skewed to boys or to girls. A real treasure trove of accessible, enjoyable science to come back to again and again in the primary-school years.

MFM judge Meena, mum of 3, says: ‘My son was super-excited to read this. The layout is really child-friendly and full of colour and pictures to help you understand the answers. Brilliant!”

JOINT SILVER – THE USBORNE BOOK OF THE MOON, £12.99

theusbornebookofthemoon

Why it’s a winner: This is a gorgeously illustrated, quietly humorous book all about the moon, and the facts, myths, beliefs – and cheese rumours – associated with it really impressed our testers. Judges thought it was very well laid out, with lots of little nuggets of info to dip in and out of, and also liked the inclusion of less well-known figures from astronomy history, such as Mariam al-Asturlabi, maker of astrolabes. Our verdict? Beautiful, fascinating and fun.

Tester Leanne, mum of 2, says: “My children loved this. Great illustrations, as well as interesting and engaging facts.”

JOINT SILVER – MIFFY X REMBRANDT (THAMES & HUDSON), £10.95

miffyxrembrandt

Why it’s a winner: Judges felt this is a lovely, playful concept for a book, placing a classic Rembrandt painting opposite a drawing of Miffy and her friends and then asking readers to spot the differences. We liked the fact the questions are simple, but lead children to look really closely at the dark old Rembrandt paintings and see things they might never have noticed at first glance. Our testers loved looking at the book with their child and talking about the paintings together.

Tester Tanya, mum of 2, says: “My daughter really enjoyed exploring this book. It’s so interesting, with lovely details and great pictures to look at.”

BRONZE  – THE NAUGHTIEST UNICORN (EGMONT), £5.99

thenaughtiestunicorn

Why it’s a winner: Our testers’ children found this romping read about a non-sparkly unicorn called Dave laugh-out-loud funny, and we appreciated how sweet and inclusive the storyline is – as one tester commented, “It was nice to see a character with dark skin and dark hair on the cover”. Judges found it engaging and easy to read, and also liked the energetically humorous illustrations.

Tester Linsey, mum of 2 says: ”It’s really good and exciting and I really wanted to know what was going to happen.”

Finalists:  CH1P (From You to Me) | The Star in the Forest (Thames & Hudson)


Book for children 9-12 years old

Key features we tested/judged: quality of text, quality of illustrations (if featured), appeal to children, value for money

GOLD – THE LAND OF ROAR BY JENNY MCLACHLAN (EGMONT), £6.99

the-land-of-roar
A joyful, fast-paced fantasy adventure, taking in everything from sibling squabbles to ninja wizards
MadeForMums deputy editor Helen, mum of 3

Why it’s a winner: Our judges felt this book was written (and illustrated) with such verve and fun – and cleverly interweaves fantasy action with real-life themes of growing up and sibling love. Home testers loved the “magical” story of twins Arthur and Rose, who revisit the world of Roar they imagined when they were little and find themselves on a mission to rescue their grandad from the evil Crowky and his scarecrow army. This book stood out for its pace, warmth and great characters and, as all our judges found, appeals hugely to boy and girls alike.

Tester Natalie, mum of 4 says: ‘My son loved this book. As soon as he saw the cover, he dived straight in to read it. The story’s captivating, easy to read and the illustrations are great, too.”

JOINT SILVER – COOKIE! AND THE MOST ANNOYING BOY IN THE WORLD (PICADILLY PRESS), £10.99

cookie!

Why it’s a winner: This very funny book, written and illustrated by former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq, is smart and silly and well put together. It’s similar in style to the bestselling Wimpy Kid books but our judges felt that Cookie, the Bangladeshi schoolgirl, at its centre is very much her own person – with a love of science and long words and a particular kitten in the pet shop. A good read, with extra points for the special bonus appendix at the end, full of science experiments to try at home.

Content Editor Tara, mum of 1, says: “Great jokes, and there’s loads of funny comic-strip illustrations, too. My daughter said it’s funnier than Diary of a Wimpy Kid. I’d definitely buy more if this was a series.”

JOINT SILVER – THE UNWORRY BOOK (USBORNE), £8.99

the-unwory-book

Why it’s a winner: Judges felt this was a brilliant and beautiful-looking activity book for children for have a tendency to worry, packed with interesting, anxiety-busting things to do and age-appropriate calming and coping techniques. We like the way this book normalises anxiety, rather than making it something (else) to worry about, and that it was created with the help of a pyschologist.

Tester Christina, mum of 3, says: “My daughter went through the book, trying all the exercises. She found them easy to follow and very helpful and calming – which is fantastic as she’s in her first year of high school which, at times she has found quite stressful.”

BRONZE – A POCKETFUL OF STARS (EGMONT) £6.99

apocketfull-of-stars

Why it’s a winner: Our judges were “charmed” by this sweet, honest and moving tale relationships between mums and teen girls, girls’ friendships, and things changing as you start growing up. Safiya’s tragedy-touched, video-game-obsessed present day is interwoven with magical timeslip scenes from her mum’s Kuwaiti childhood. Quietly, heart-tuggingly touching.

Deputy Editor Helen, mum of 3, says: “Both my goddaughter and my son were captivated by Safiya’s story – particularly the bits set in Kuwait that felt so real and yet also like part of a video game. They told me it’s sad but in a good way.”

Finalists: We Are Artists (Thames & Hudson)


Children’s book series

Key features we tested/judged: quality of text, quality of illustrations (if featured), appeal to children, value for money

GOLD – TOUCHY-FEELY SOUNDS BOOKS (USBORNE)£12.99 each

usborne-touchyfeelysoundbooks
Fantastic series! Funny, tactile and slightly naughty. The sounds are great
MadeForMums deputy editor Helen, mum of 3

Why it’s a winner: Our parent and child testers thoroughly enjoyed reading these animal-themed books, from the creators of  the much-loved ‘That’s not my…’ series, which feature touchy-feely patches that trigger embedded sounds. So, if you tickle the bear’s furry tummy, you’ll hear the bear growl. It’s great, colourful, page-turning fun that got all our toddler testers giggling. Parents also rated that fact that it comes with an off button and a button battery safely enclosed behind a screw.

Tester Keira, mum of 1, says: “My daughter could not get enough of this book. Her face lit up when she tickled the hippo, and the music at the end made her have a little boogie! I would definitely buy these books: seeing my little girl interact with them was really special.”

SILVER – FROM YOU TO ME (WOW! BIRTHDAY BOOKS) £4.99 each

wow-birthday-books

Why it’s a winner: These softback ‘birthday books’ feature Numbear and his pet bird, who present amazing facts about your child’s new age from 1 to 6 – for example a 5-year-old will learn an oyster takes 5 years to make a pearl. Our parent testers thought these were easy to use, and felt the sweet, colourful pictures and fun facts would make a lovely keepsake. They also liked the fact that each book comes with a decorated envelope, so you can send it like a card, but it encourages little ones to develop their reading skills.

Tester Victoria, mum of 2, says: “My children loved reading these books and finding out all the facts about the numbers. These are definitely something I’d buy, especially as a gift for nieces and nephews.”

Available from: From You To Me and Amazon


New baby gift/Keepsake

Key features we tested/judged: ease of use, appeal to parents, value for money, quality and effectiveness of product

GOLD – MEMORIES OF GROWING UP – TALLTAPE, £13.50 – £19.99

talltape
Talltape is a great new addition to our family and we’ve all measured ourselves. Great fun and memories made
Lydia, mum of 2

Why it’s a winner: This super-sturdy means of recording your child’s measurements was a real hit with our panel, who loved the fact that you can take it with if you move house, unlike when you mark their heights on a wall. It also impressed judges with its gorgeous design and subtle colours, and the fact it comes with a Sharpie included so you can get marking those centimetres up as soon as you get it. The fact it comes in an ultra-strong tube so that it can be kept and passed on means it has that ‘keepsake’ factor for future generations, too.

Tester Caroline, mum of 1, says: “Does exactly what it is meant to and looks beautiful doing it! It feels very high quality and is made of very thick materials which would be hard wearing and withstand even the most vigorous of toddler. It would look lovely in a nursery… or as a new grandparent gift to track heights of grandchildren.”

SILVER – WELCOME TO THE WORLD GIFT BOOK, £7.99

welcome-totheworld

Why it’s a winner: This beautiful book features pastel (yet bright) illustrations, telling the story of a little elephant discovering all the world has to offer. The sentimental text might not be for everyone, but our testers thought this was a lovely, high-quality book, which would work particularly well as a gift. Though small, this book is sturdy (it’s hardback) and we like the fact it a space at the front for gifters to write their special own message as well.

Tester Teri, mum of 1, says: “Massive appeal. It’s a beautiful book to read, easy to read, a lovely bedtime story – but I have also been able to make it more of an activity: reading it adding sensory scarfs and other items to match to the story. Definitely worth the money, will be looking into buying one for friends when they are expecting.”

Available from: From You To Me and Amazon

BRONZE – TWIDDLE ONS, £9.99

twiddle-ons

Why it’s a winner: A handy item from the makers of the super-useful Sock-Ons. Our testers know the frustration of a toy being out of reach or constantly dropped, so we particularly loved how these Twiddle Ons can’t get lost. Yep, as these are firmly attached to your little one’s feet – they’re not going anywhere! One of our mums loved how well they kept, too, despite constant tugging from her baby (and they didn’t stretch). Another agreed that if you have a child who’s constantly trying to pull off their socks, or who gets bored during nappy changes – these could be just the solution you’re after.

Tester Anette, mum of 3, says: “Very simple to use. Pop onto baby’s feet, either over tights/socks or barefoot and wait for them to notice!… If you are looking for a way to entertain your baby and keep their socks on when they are very interested in their feet (and pulling their socks off), I would highly recommend this item.”

Finalist: Meminio memory case


Preschool book

Key features we tested/judged – value for money, product design, quality, durability, story, learning opportunities, suitability for age group

GOLD – MY BUSY BOTS SCHOOL STARTER TOOLKIT, £10

school-starrter-toolkit
My 3 year old loves them. She sees them as more of a game which is great because it really gets her involved
Steffi-Louise, mum of 2

Why it’s a winner: We loved the way this clever deck of educational cards is made of strong durable material and attached together on each corner with a permanent clip. The benefits are many; easy to transport, well sized, durable, a range of educational topics & activities spot on for pre-school and reception aged children. Our little judges found the cards engaging and fun; our adults felt they were an at home and on the go essential. The School Starter Toolkit also encourages adult and child conversation – a great quality time tool with an educational twist.

Tester Leanne, mum of 2 says: “The book is presented really well with bright colours which made it fun for my little one. I like that it covers a lot of topics and involves different activities. The pages are durable and will last the time it will be used for and after! Anything that helps my child with learning is a win in my book and it also appeals to me as I know we won’t lose pages due to the corner clip keeping it together”

SILVER – LIFESIZE, £8.99

lifesize

Why it’s a winner: Each page of this fantastically illustrated book not only brings an animal to life but does it in life size to get little ones thinking about scale and measurement. Our testers felt this worked well for a range of ages, with babies enjoying the images while older toddlers can enjoy learning – a great conversation starter for young and curious minds. We also rated the nice thick pages, good print quality and lovely bright colours which give this book further durability.

Tester Alex, mum of 1 says: “I love this book. It’s works at my daughters current age of 23 months, just enjoying the pictures. It’s a bonus that as she gets older, she will get more from it. I also think older kids will like it too.”

JOINT BRONZE – THE BOOK WITHOUT A STORY, £6.99

the-book-without-a-story

Why it’s a winner: The title of this book instantly sparked our – and our testers’ – curiosity and that’s exactly it’s purpose. Readers found it simple and easy to follow, making it ideal for encouraging reluctant readers and helping fuel the fire of imagination. Parent testers liked the diverse range of “beautiful” illustrations, and “lovely message”, which instantly engaged their little one. We also felt it was reasonably priced, particularly for the impact it could have in creating a future prize winning author or bookstore owner!

Tester Sheila, mum of 2 says: “My 3.5 year old daughter took to this book straight away and we’ve read it every evening this week. Reading it has started a conversation about libraries and my daughter now wants to visit our local library at the weekend to discover some new books. Loads of detail in pictures to talk around the story and things to spot.”

JOINT BRONZE – CAPTAIN SPARKLEBEARD, £6.99

captain-sparklebeard

Why it’s a winner: Kicking down the barriers of gender stereotypes with a well-heeled boot, we loved this empowering tale of a crew of pirates, where the characters are diverse and inclusive. Judges were impressed by the way stereotypes are erased and replaced with empowering words that will resonate with young and old. Our young testers loved the engaging and easy-to-follow story.

Tester Liz, mum of 1 says: “My son loves a good pirate story! Appealing to be able to read a story about a rebellious little girl that break stereotypes. Great quality, it will be read lots and passed onto others.”


Subscription/ gift box and services

Key features we tested/judged – quality of products, value for money, ease of use, innovation/unusual features

GOLD – WHIRLI, £9.99 – £29.99 per month

whirli
Such a breath of fresh air: once your child loses interest, you can just send the items back and order something new
Danielle, mum of 2

Why it’s a winner: Unusual, sustainable, and a great way to declutter the toy room: no wonder our parent testers love this flexible toy subscription service. From browsing toys on their smartphone, to finding Whirli even includes sticky tape and labels for easy returns, judges were impressed by how convenient and customer-friendly the service is, as well as its landfill-reducing credentials. Our parent testers really liked the chance to try out a variety of toys which they might not otherwise be able to buy, and discover more about their child’s particular tastes at each stage of development.

Tester Charlotte, mum of 1, says: “Whirli would really reduce the amount of clutter we have in our house! The core idea – that you should swap and share toys, instead of buying them – in itself is a great lesson for our toddler. And we’ve discovered that our son adores farm animals but he’s not quite ready for a bike. It’s the ultimate try before you buy!”

JOINT SILVER – FREYA: THE POSITIVE BIRTH COMPANY APP, £2.99

freya-the-positive-birth-company

Why it’s a winner: There are plenty of contraction-timing apps on the market, but this hypnobirthing-friendly version is great quality, and has the added bonus of being a ‘virtual birth partner’ to coach you throughout labour. As well as the easy-to-use ‘surge’ timer, judges felt the calming visualisations and guided meditation and breathing techniques were genuinely effective in helping you relax before and during labour. In particular, the app’s ‘calming voice’ and ‘relaxing music’ help it stand out from the crowd.

Tester Kelly, mum of 1 says: “A very well put together app and absolutely effective. It’s easy to download and navigate around, and left me in calm and relaxed state after listening to it. Being able to come out of the app but still able to play the music, is an awesome feature.”

JOINT SILVER – LITTLE FAWN BOX, £12.99 per month

litttle-fawn-box

Why it’s a winner: Our MFM reviews editor rated this monthly box so highly, she went straight home and subscribed! Judges were particularly impressed by the price, and the quality of products you receive in each box, finding it to be great value. But what really helped this box stand out was its unique concept of offering products for both mum and baby, meaning you can look forward to a monthly treat without the dreaded ‘mum guilt’. Our testers also felt ‘it’s great that it tailors to age of baby/stage of pregnancy’ so you only get appropriate products.

Tester Helen, mum of 5, says: “Lovely packaging and smelled amazing just from the bath bomb inside. I would say it’s under-priced as I’d pay up to about £15 for this.”

BRONZE – ECOCOBOX, £30-£180

ecoboxmumandbaby

Why it’s a winner: Offering a less frequent (bi-monthly) delivery, eco-lifestyle products and minimal plastic, our testers were convinced that ecocobox’s tailored subscription service lives up to its name. The fact that it avoids single-use plastic sachets and offers mainly full-size goodies also impressed testers. The price is a little steeper than other entries but our home testers felt this was a great way to prompt frazzled new mums to look after themselves.

Tester Kayleigh, mum of 1, says: “A great selection of gifts with an eco-friendly focus, and I enjoyed the fact the box used minimal packaging. It’s a top-quality product, and would make a really thoughtful gift for a new mum.”

Finalists: Banjo Robinson | Mum & You Nappies, Wipes & Toiletries Subscribe & Save Subscriptions | Mysteries in Time – Bumper Box

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The MadeForMums Awards team is led by Reviews Editor Christy McGhee and Editorial Director Susie Boone and comprises Janet Martin, Melanie Grant, Sonali Hindmarch, Anna Richardson Taylor, Jenny Yu, Sabrina Sahota, Natalie Brown, Tara Breathnach and Helen Brown, who have created, written and edited these pages after rigorous testing and judging.

 

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