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I am not a fan of pink, or plastic, or the twee Hello Kitty, but somehow this toy manages to be all three things in one gaudy package. This unfortunately item of girly horror was a gift for my Daughter during her "pink phase", a part of her life that was thankfully short-lived. I am not sure if this little play house could be more girlie if it tried.
The Hello Kitty mini dolls house is a mini character house with furniture accessories, which packs away into a little carry case. The case is made from the walls and roof, which fold up and clip closed. The kit comes with lots of tiny and annoying accessories crafted from plastic, which are the perfect size to lose and get stuck up the hoover. The tiny yellow lamp is even small enough to shove into a dvd player, never to be seen again. This toy is listed as being appropriate for kids from age 4 upwards which I think is probably about right, but be prepared to lose many of the pieces fairly quickly.
WHAT DO YOU GET FOR YOUR DOSH?
You get a plastic mini house which has a carry handle and fold up/down platforms. One platform is the terrace/garden and one is a kidney shaped garden pool. The attic part of the house is the upstairs but there is no way to get there so I assume that Hello Kitty is clever enough to levitate....
These two platforms increase the size of the playing area and tuck up into the body of the house when you put it all away. The roof and the outer front wall are the parts that create the extra playing space which is a great idea but in reality does not always work. It doesn't seem to take much play before the roof panel/garden comes off, and when my Daughter is playing with this I spend a lot of time clipping it back on. This is a fiddly and annoying process and the design should really be better thought out. It is also quite tricky for small hands to open once it is all packed away so expect to be asked to do this also.
The whole house set up is very small. The body of the building measures just 14cm long. Despite this, the set is a self-contained little outfit which for older kids is a good entertaining toy. There is definitely a risk of choking for younger children due to the size of the small furniture parts. Being plastic the house is easy to wipe down and clean, and apart from the extending platform issues, the whole set is reasonably durable.
The house contains areas which are defined by flooring and patterned "grass", including a bathroom, attic bedroom, living area and kitchen and the garden and pool. The Hello Kitty family are obviously reasonably affluent with their posh pool and sun loungers, and once packed up the house is appealing to the eye with the little feature windows and opening front door.
The annoying accessories, some of which are really tiny, also include a TV, a phone and a flower vase. There is even a little white loo. All in all there are 13 of these little pieces which decorate the house and three Kitty characters.
The play house set is small but fun for a child who is into Hello Kitty. Despite the fact that the fold down areas are not very durable, my Daughter has enjoyed using it and has had hours of fun assembling all of the mini pieces. The house is very dinky which means that it does not take up too much space, and all of the little furniture accessories can be stored inside it when not in use.
You get enough items in the set to furnish the house adequately, including bathroom furniture and the aforementioned tiny lamp. Also supplied are three characters, two females and a male who is identified via some geeky thick rimmed glasses and a blue suit and tie. The house is very secure once closed so there is no danger of all of the little pieces falling out. The downside to this is the fact that it is very stiff to operate.
At just 14 x 11.8 x 11 cm, the house is light and easy to carry thanks to the integrated carry handle. The toy is great for taking places when you are out and about or visiting people, as it keeps kids amused for a long time and yet takes up little space. The whole set is great for make-believe play and story making, and despite the size I have had 3 kids here all playing with the set at the same time with no problems.
The design of the garden and pool terraces is poor and these do start to fall of regularly. The opening mechanism is also too tough for little hands. Other than that, the set is great fun for young kids.
* Hello Kitty Carry-Along Mini Doll House with 16 Playing Pieces
* Includes: 3 Cute Characters,
* 13 Pieces of Removable Furniture for Living Room, Bathroom and Bedroom
* Encourages imaginative play and story telling
* Flip-out yard with pool
* Carry on Handle
* Ages: 4+
The Hello Kitty mini doll's house is currently £14.00 on Amazon, which includes free postage.
Like most young girls, my daughter loves Hello Kitty! Whilst on holiday last year I bought her a Hello Kitty Candy Store set. At the time I hadn't seen it being sold in the UK, however I have since seen it being sold at various places including Tesco, Amazon and Smyths Toys.
The set comes packaged in a perfectly pink cardboard box! You cannot see the actual store (just a photo of it on front of the box) but you can see the characters and accessories which are covered over by plastic. When we removed the store from the box, we were initially surprised at how small it was (approx 16cm wide and 13cm high). Although we were surprised, we weren't really disappointed - the set is quite compact and is the perfect size for taking out and about. It even has a useful chunky carry handle on the top which allows my daughter to easily transport her candy store (and she really does take it everywhere with her!).
The Hello Kitty Candy Store comes with lots of cute accessories. These include 3 characters (2 kitty's and a bear), popcorn machine, 3 chairs, table (with umbrella), sandwich board, ice cream cart, 2 barrels of sweets, a cake counter (with till), an oven and a pick 'n' mix counter. All of the accessories are made of plastic and are very small. Although they are small, they are also full of detail and character. My daughter loves fiddly little toys so needless to say, she loves playing with this set! Some of the accessories have stickers on them. Something which I really appreciate is that the stickers were already stuck on, I hate having to stick stickers on to toys (they haven't yet peeled or worn off either). All of the accessories seem durable and are still going strong 6 months on. As there are lots of small parts the Hello Kitty Candy Store is recommend for children 4+ years.
The store itself is made solely of plastic. The plastic seems like good quality (no dents, scratches etc) and the store is easy to wipe clean. The store has 2 doors and a number of windows. Some of the windows have pink bars across them and some windows have transparent plastic across them - this is great as it lets plenty of light in to the store, gives the store lots of character but also lets you keep the accessories inside the store without them falling out of the windows! The doors consist of yellow swing doors which unfortunately have a tendency to fall off and can also be quite temperamental (they don't always shut when you want them to!). This is frustrating for my daughter as she likes to keep her accessories inside the store when she's not playing with it or carrying it around, but if the doors have fallen off or wont shut then the accessories often fall out. However this isn't always the case, sometimes the doors are fine. As I already mentioned, they are temperamental!
The candy store looks really girly and pretty. It's sure to please all young girls (young boys might like to play with it but I doubt they would like to own it!). It is mainly pink in colour with a red roof (and pink handle on top). There are some green plastic bushes attached around the outside and the front door and front windows have purple/yellow striped 'covers' over the top (and a sign which reads 'Sweet Shop' over the door). The whole back of the store can be opened up and folded out flat on the ground (so the wall of the store turns in to a patio). There are 2 levels in the store which the accessories can be moved around on. The floor of the house (including the fold out wall/patio) has stickers on. These stickers are beautifully decorated (with tables, a sofa, pretty flooring, ice cream, a welcome mat, flower pot etc), are already stuck on and are still in perfect condition 6 months on.
The fold-out aspect is brilliant as it opens up the store (more space to play) but also closes the store up to keep all of the accessories safety stored inside. However, after about 2 days we started experiencing problems with the fold-out flap and it constantly started falling off (it folds down in 2 halves. Sometimes only one half falls off, sometimes both halves fall off). This is so frustrating for my daughter as it's impossible for her to store her accessories inside when there's no back on it! Whilst playing with this set, she constantly asks me for help to clip in back on. This is a massive downside to me, but my daughter still seems to really likes her candy store!
Despite its downsides, this set is great for imaginative play (and role play to an extent). As I've already mentioned, my daughter (who is 5 years old) loves fiddly toys. She also loves anything which involves using her imagination, so this set is right up her street! She has spent hours playing with her Hello Kitty Candy Store and hasn't got fed up of it, even after owning it for 6 months (she has actually seen some other similar Hello Kitty sets in shops and wants more). Most often she can be found using the characters to serve other characters sweet treats and sitting the customers down to enjoy their goodies!
We paid more than we should have for the Hello Kitty Candy Store (about £18.00) but it generally sells for around £10.00. I don't think this is a bad price to pay for a toy which my daughter really enjoys playing with. It also comes with a generous amount of accessories, is very pretty and is suitable for taking out and about. However the fact it falls apart easily is a major downside. I will be quite generous and award 4 stars to this sweet like candy store.