Mothercare and Early Learning Centre have been showcasing their Christmas 2013 range.
And I got to get an insight as to where Squeaks might be directing her affections.
I am a massive fan of ELC.
I think it's that safety net. I remember loving spending time in ELC as a child, there was always so much to get involved with. There's a trust- if they could keep this reprobate engaged, my children will be fine!
When I became a parent I did all my initial (well-researched!) purchases at Mothercare- travel system, cot bed, bedding, babygrows and vest, and gorgeous dresses.
There is an allegiance, a trust which forms.
We've loved the gender neutral option, and now as Squeaks shows her preferences that she can choose her colours of choice.
It was great to take a step back at watch Squeaks explore 'Christmas in July'.
Almost knowingly she didn't play with the toys she already has access to, she didn't go near the Happyland display (although mummy has her heart set on the carousel!).
She didn't gravitate towards the musical instruments she already owns, and spent little time with the dolls houses or functionality of the kitchens.
And despite her gender-neutral promoting mummy, she was magnetised by the fairies, the pink, and the ice-cream.
I was really impressed with the volume of wooden toys, the quality of them, and the great price point.
For Squeaks, at 4, I loved the wooden ice-cream van- it is full of fantastic detail and accessories.
And for the three children, at 4, 2 and 2, I loved the ice-cream wooden set which would look fantastic in their ELC kitchen.
Squeaks loved the fairy kingdom, which I think this would be great for her birthday in March.
She remained attached to the wooden guitar, and I am tempted to gift each child with something from this range, it is so colourful and so well made.
The table and train set... well, I think this is it.
And its size means all three (and friends) could take their place at the table and this is a sharing activity.
As the boys turn 3 in January, my thoughts also turn to them. I loved the pirate ship, I loved the craft corner- especially the dinosaur cushions! And I know they play really well with their sister's Happyland range so maybe it's time for them to have some of their own (because then the carousel can become part of our home!).
Before you even get into the Mothercare clothing.
I love the Jools Oliver range, I love the funky shirts for the boys.
And then I spotted red sparkly shoes...
As it was, gaining a lot of respect from her mummy, she left content, happy that she had enjoyed the best day ever!
Disclosure: Squeaks did not arrive in the fairy outfit- but she was allowed to wear it for playtime- and in spite of mummy's innermost fears of a tantrum, the wonderful team at ELC somehow 'magic-ed' Squeaks out of it without any tears or tantrums. Respect!