Design: Baby, we have designs on you

In the post-pram age, it's hard to know what accessories to buy to make life with a small child that little bit easier. Six top women designers wax lyrical about the products which they found made child-rearing a positive pleasure.

Lizzie Johnson

Johnson Banks Design

"The Anywayup Cup from V & A Marketing Ltd is a great invention. It automatically seals between sips, so no leaks or spills even when shaken or dropped. It has won several awards, including being named by the Design Council as a Millennium Product. Another inspired idea which I have recently discovered is the Dishwasher Basket. It takes life's little necessities such as teats, lids, etc and houses them in a basket preventing loss, clogged filters or glued-up heating elements. I would also like to nominate Tiptronic Transmission. Automatic cars are handy when a crisis develops in the back seat such as a dropped rattle, biscuit, box of raisins, etc. With tiptronic transmission you can just switch from manual to automatic and back again while driving along and allow yourself the luxury of a spare hand whenever you need it, while still feeling like a racing driver. Another favourite is Betty Crocker's Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix. All you need in addition to the packet is some water, vegetable oil and a medium egg. They are divine and our two-year-old son Joe (in the photo with me) is already an expert. Whitworths Low Fat Cookies are somewhat less calorific, but still really good and you only need to add water."

Helen Storey

Fashion Designer

"I can think of a well- designed product which is currently keeping my 13-year-old son Luke very happy. It is the iMac. Luke has five "e-mail pals" from America, South Africa, Malaysia and Singapore. His generation is so fear-free of technology, and although I don't let him stay on it for long he is gaining instant knowledge of how other kids his age live their very different lives all around the world. The immediacy of the medium means that he can swap interests and develop an understanding of technology and communication which was impossible in my day."

Mary Wiggin

Managing Director, Coexistence

Having consulted her daughter, Rachel Bull, Mary named three invaluable additions to their lives: Zanotta's Scangai Clothes Stand can be used as a fun alternative to a wardrobe and the Sacco bean bag, also by Zanotta, is a safe and attractive piece of furniture for children's bedrooms. Seven- year-old Rachel also nominated Baleri Italia's Tato, Tatino and Tatone floor cushions (egg-shaped, ball-shaped and flat, respectively), which have seen her through her stylish childhood.

Orianna

Fielding Banks

Designer, Pure Contemporary Design

Orianna thinks that the most perfectly designed product for small children is the "Eat Me, Drink Me" range of tableware, available from Urban Outfitters. At the bottom of these transparent, perspex utensils is printed the perfect incentive for young children to finish their meals, and Orianna's adult friends all seem to love them, too.

Deborah Carter

Designer, Dragon International

"Lego has always been my favourite (I loved it when I was a child) for the following reasons: it is brilliant for imaginative and creative play; easy to store; a very acceptable reasonably-priced present, cleverly targeted with different levels of complexity for a range of ages from five to teens (Duplo fits the younger age group); appeals to both boys and girls, and keeps (most) children occupied for hours. I have also just discovered Yoplait Frubes, Fruit Fromage Frais in tubes, introduced by Yoplait to the UK from France a few years ago, which provide real dairy goodness in a portable, convenient and fun format. They are a perfect balance of child appeal and mum reassurance, a good solution for the lunch box and easily stored in the fridge (and freezable too).

The Renault Twingo [sadly not yet available in the UK], although not specifically designed with children in mind, is wonderful as a car for a mum because: it is convenient to park, comfortable to sit in and has wide doors for getting the kids/shopping/luggage in and out easily; it looks stylish and intrinsically French, with a sense of humour and great attention to detail; it is also very economical to run and feels safe and reliable to drive about in.

Finally, I mustn't forget the Spot the Dog story books. The Spot character is friendly and loveable with a touch of mischief. They offer a great balance of simplicity, charm and fun - a pleasure to read and easy for children and adults to enjoy. The "flaps" offer a surprise element which used to make my children chuckle over and over again!"

Dinny Hall

Designer @ Dinny Hall

"I have to say that the best-designed products for babies are at Baby Gap. I was in there all the time for clothes for my son Lorcan. The socks, the hats, everything is cool and not overpriced. As for pushchairs, the fantastic Pegasus, all-terrain, 3-wheeler buggy is great, but I was never prepared to spend pounds 400 on one!"

Clockwise from bottom left: Zanotta Scangai Clothes Stand, available from Coexistence, London N1 (0171-354 8817); The Anywayup Cup is designed by V&A Marketing Ltd (01222 575600). For details of other Millennium Products contact the Design Council on 0171- 420 5200; The iMac is available in strawberry, blueberry, grape, tangerine and lime. Customer enquiry line 0870 6006010; similar Baby Gap cardigans are available in the BabyLuxe range. Call 0800 427789 for stockists; the Pegasus Landrover Pushchair costs pounds 392 including accessories. Call 01822 618077 for

details or see www.allterrain.co.uk. The Mothercare Manhattan 3-wheeler pushchair retails at pounds 199, customer enquiries 01923 210210; Sacco bean bags by Zanotta are available from Coexistence as before. Not pictured: Frubes were designed by an all-female team and are currently available from supermarkets; the Eat Me, Drink Me range of tableware is available from Urban Outfitters, London W11 (call 0171-761 1001)

Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy as ECB finally wield the axe
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

    £65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

    Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

    Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

    £50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

    The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

    £27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas