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My daughters were bought this Early Learning Centre (ELC) Happyland Fairy Toadstool Cottage as a 1st birthday present, as they were younger than the recommended 18 months from age I put it away until they were a bit older. They were about 15 months when I got it out for them as I really liked the look of it. I hadn't come across Happyland toys before but when they received this one I had a look on the ELC website and found that it was one of a huge range of lovely looking toys. The range is aimed at girls and boys and has collections within it such as fairies, space and village. It also does special occasion sets such as the Jubilee collection and sporty athletes.
The Toadstool Cottage
The red and white spotted toadstool has an opening door and windows on the front and back. The door was the first thing that grabbed my little ones attention and they soon worked out that it easily detached, from that moment on the cottage was destined to not have a door on it's hinges as they would remove it as quickly as I could replace it until I gave up bothering! The rest of the set is sturdy though, as you would expect from ELC and is showing and has no scratches or marks on it after 6 months of play.
There is a flower coming out the roof like a chimney pot and a small toadstool next to it which would be ideal for a pet if the fairies had one. I think a small animal like the pet in one of the other sets we have would have been a great addition to this set so that this small toadstool could be made use of without the need to buy anything else.
On top of the toadstool is a carry handle to allow your little one to carry this around if they wish. My toddlers haven't taken any notice of this yet but it makes it easy for me to move it around.
Opening the Toadstool Cottage
There is a small orange worm which you press to open up the cottage and once inside there is a dresser and 2 mats decorating it. Included in the set for little ones to play with are 2 fairies, a bed and a table. These all fit into the cottage easily and there is an upstairs to the cottage where one fairy can have a snooze upstairs whilst the other one is downstairs having tea at the table. My toddlers enjoy moving the fairies about and although they still rely on me to be making up the stories I feel that they are learning lots about imagination play from this toy.
When we first got this toy it played a short magical sound when opening the door, opening the cottage using the worm and when the flower doorbell was pressed. The only one still working after 6 months of play is the flower doorbell which I think is a shame as my little ones enjoy making the toy play music.
Price and Availability
As mentioned before we received this as a gift but the ELC website price is currently £20 with free delivery, the Happyland range is often on offer though and so it is worth waiting to get it cheaper or shopping around. It is also currently available from ELC seller Amazon where it is only £16.19.
Would I recommend?
Yes, although I don't think it is worth the full price of £20. Despite some of the sound effects no longer working it is still popular with my toddlers and I think they will be playing with it for a good while yet.
My daughter loves Happyland toys, we had a small collection of toys up until her second birthday and Christmas, now the collection seems to have grown quite a lot! One new addition to the collection is this Happyland Fairy Toadstool set.
--- What is Happyland? ---
Happyland is a range of toys created by Early Learning Centre, they are play sets ideal for toddler role play. There are a huge variety of different sets available to purchase, anything from cottages and school buildings to more out there fairy toadstools and moon buildings. The sets also vary in size and in price, with the cheapest being a set of figures which are normally around £8, to full blown fun fair sets which cost around £60 at full price. This variety means that you can spend as little or as much as you want on a collection, we started ours off with just the Vet set, but we've added to it bit by bit and now have a huge collection.
--- Information ---
I purchased this Fairy Toadstool Cottage set from Early Learning Centre, it's also available from Mothercare too. I paid £16 for this set as I had a 20% off code, it costs £20 full price. If you are going to purchase this then wait! There are often offers on Happyland toys.
The recommended age for this set is 18 months. It requires two AA batteries.
This toadstool cottage set comes inside a cardboard box. After opening the box you will find each individual piece for the set inside it's own transparent plastic bag, no fiddling around trying to unclip each piece from the box, hurrah! There are five different items inside the box, the cottage, a table, a petal bed and two fairy figurines.
--- The cottage ---
The fairy toadstool cottage is lovely to look at, it looks exactly like you would imagine a toadstool from an enchanted forest to look like. It's around 20cm tall, so it definitely isn't the biggest Happyland set, but far from being the smallest as well. This cottage has a little house stuck beside it, I would normally describe this as a dog house type thing, but as it's a fairy cottage I'm not really sure what it is! The cottage has a carry handle, it also opens up inside, to do this you push the worm that is sitting on top of the roof. There is a small flower button near the front door of the cottage, pressing this will start the magical, enchanted, twinkle sound effect.
Once the fairy toadstool cottage has been opened up, it will reveal the fantastic interior. There are two levels, the ground floor and a ledge on one side of the cottage which has a balcony, this top level is by the top window. The ground floor includes a round leaf welcome mat, a leaf rug and a cabinet displaying a tea pot and cups. Again, the attention to detail is fantastic.
--- Accessories ---
The accessories included in this set are of the same quality as all other Happyland accessories. The two fairies each have their individual colour schemes and detailing one is purple with a pretty flower head band, the other is green and wearing a hat. Both fairies have detailing on their clothes and shoes, the attention to detail is fantastic. The petal bed is quite basic for a Happyland toy, it looks exactly like a petal but the only problem is that it is hard to get the figures to balance on the bed without it tipping over which is a shame. The table looks like a flower head, on the table are three apples.
--- Our opinions ---
Me and my daughter both like this Happyland set, actually, we just like Happyland in general. It is played with often as part of the collection we have, but not played with much on it's own. So it isn't one of the most loved set's my daughter owns.
When it was first played with, the cottage was incredibly hard to open up. It was that hard that both me and my mum was worried about pulling it apart to hard as we thought it could break. The worm used to open up the cottage did open it up slightly, but it was like one side of the cottage was jammed, in the end I just gave it a massive pull and it did finally open up. After a few times of opening and closing, the cottage was easy to open again.
Another problem we have found with the toadstool cottage is that the front door often falls off. Even with the slightest of nudges it is prone to falling off. It is easy to put back into place but it's just a nuisance. Although it's a nuisance I think most play sets with doors that open have this kind of problem. The dog house type thing on the side of the cottage is quite small, none of the accessories including in this set fit inside, so if you only had this set to play with it would be deemed useless. However, it is the perfect size for the animals from some of my daughters other sets, so it does get some use with these.
The sound that this fairy toadstool cottage makes is quite poor as it is so basic. It has a enchanted, magical feel about it which sounds ok, but it literally only lasts two measly seconds. We have cheaper sets than this cottage and they have more sounds than this set. It's quite disappointing really, it's the only set with rubbish sound effects. I suppose the upside of this is that it wont drain through batteries, and wont drive me mad, but I would have liked a couple more sounds on the cottage, maybe a doorbell or something.
The recommended age is 18 months, but with all of the Happyland toys we have, I think this is quite high. My daughter was playing with Happyland toys before her first birthday without any problems. The figures are made from an almost soft type plastic and are quite chunky so it is easy for younger toddlers to hold easily, they are too large to pose a choking hazard.
As said previously, my daughter enjoys playing with this set as part of playing with her whole collection of Happyland toys at the same time, the imaginative play is fantastic. Quite often the fairies will go and visit the school and windmill, and when the vet (from another set) is driving his truck, he will often drop some of the animals off at the cottage. She doesn't play with this set on it's own very often, I think this is down to the fact as it doesn't have as many noises and accessories as some of her other sets.
--- Overall ---
As far as our collection of Happyland goes, this is definitely the worst set we have. Although the attention to detail and quality is fantastic, it definitely lacks in sounds compared to other sets. It's awkward to open at first, the door falls off often and the dog house is useless unless you have other Happyland figures to use inside it. I definitely don't think this is worth the £20 it currently sells for, I bought a different set for only £12 and that one is miles better than this one. Having said all of that, our set does get played with when my daughter is playing with all of her other Happyland toys, so it isn't completely rubbish.