I’m 26 years old and soon to become a stay-at-home mum to Hugo, six months, and his big sis Charlotte, 18 months. Childcare costs mean I’m going to take a career break from my job as an Environmental Health Technical Officer and enjoy life with the kids in Cambridge.
Having two children quite close together has definitely made me more confident about discerning between the essential and we’ll-never-use elements of a baby product. We fill our days with drawing and painting, seeing Charlotte's friends (ok, and mine if you count the mums), walks to the park and playing at home.
Helen reviews the Dance & Play Puppy
Age at time of testing: 11 months
This toy has been a huge hit in our house! Hugo loves to sit in front of the Dance & Play Puppy (around £45) clapping, smiling and bobbing up and down, plus his two-year-old sister Charlotte absolutely adores it too.
She tells anyone who’ll listen how much she loves the puppy, and carries it around with her everywhere.
She helps Hugo press the buttons to play the different songs and phrases, and I’m looking forward to him growing into it a bit more as he gets older.
A great toy for young and older babies, offering different benefits for both.
Helen reviews the Laugh & Learn Sort 'N Lunchbox
Age at time of testing: ten months
Hugo loves the music from the lunch box! (RRP around£20) He regularly presses the buttons to get the music to play, and when it stops he comes charging back over to press it again.
He likes holding the shapes and although he hasn’t worked out exactly where they go in the lunchbox, he is definitely starting to figure this out as he grows.
I like that it is a different approach to shape sorting using food, and it also shows a well-balanced lunch which is important too!
Helen reviews the Laugh & Learn Sing'N Learn Shopping Tote
Age at time of testing: nine months
Hugo really enjoys pressing the button to make the music play from the Sing n’ Learn Shopping Bag (around £17).
He gets so captivated by the bright bag and groceries, while the songs and phrases are a nice way of teaching him about counting and colours.
The words are clear, too, so Hugo’s two-year-old sister Charlotte can understand and sing along with him. A great toy that will last a long time.
Helen reviews the Laugh & Learn Cookie Shape Surprise
Age at time of testing: Seven months
This Laugh & Learn Cookie Shape Surprise (around £17) has been a great addition to Hugo’s toy box.
The bright jar and flashing nose keep his attention, and he’ll sit quite happily pulling the shapes out of the top and putting them back in to trigger the songs. Although he can’t sort the shapes yet, the music always makes him smile.
The objects do spend a lot of time in Hugo’s mouth at the moment, so it’s reassuring that they’re a great size for this, and for him to hold onto and wave about.
This is definitely a toy that grows with your baby. Hugo’s sister Charlotte loves it too – she’s an expert at shape sorting and does a little dance to the songs.
Helen reviews the Discover n’ Grow Jumbo Playmat
Age at time of testing: Six months
Hugo absolutely loves the Discover n’ Grow Jumbo Playmat (around £43). He has a lot of tummy time at the moment so it’s ideal – plus now he’s learned to move about, he can see all the bright colours attracting his attention!
The different accessories can be attached to different parts of the mat, too, which keeps him occupied.
Thinking with my mum cap on, I love that the mat’s machine washable and can be tumble-dried – but even then it’s still easy to just wipe up little messes.
The padded mat is very comfortable, and big enough to fit Hugo, his big sister Charlotte and me all at the same time.
Helen reviews the Evolve Highchair
Age at time of testing: Six months
The Fisher-Price Evolve Highchair (around £85) was simple to put together, although, when it came to fixing the chair to the legs, it did require two of us to align the holes and screw it in.
It’s easy to clean, as any mess that Hugo makes just wipes off the plastic, and the fabric seat can go straight in the wash. The lightweight chair can be moved out of the way quickly, but it doesn’t fold away as compactly as I thought it would, you do need to prop it against a wall to store. The tray is a simple design and it just clicks on easily.
My daughter Charlotte, who’s 21 months, can still sit in it comfortably with the back on at the moment, but I love the fact it will grow as Hugo does, turning into a toddler chair for him later.
Overall, it’s a great highchair, but I’d say it’s best suited to babies who can confidently sit unaided. For younger ones a recline option might help them be more comfortable while they begin trying new foods.
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