“ Brand: Sanrio / Type: Doll playset „
The Hello Kitty Pet Parlour is a toy that my 8 year old daughter bought a couple of weeks ago on a shopping trip. It cost £10 from Smyths toy store. I wasn't overly impressed with the look of the toy in the shop, and it was not something I would have bought with my own money, but as she had her own pocket money to do with as she wished, she seemed really keen on this toy.
The pet parlour is a self contained playset, which consists of a pink carrycase which opens out to create a little shop scene. There are various items within the set, including Hello Kitty herself. I will briefly describe what is contained in the set before going on to discuss how we play with it at home.
The carry case: The case is not very big at all, measuring 6 inches across and 5 inches high when closed, and not including the handle on top. The case has a yellow chunky plastic handle on the top, with the Hello Kitty logo on it. The case is designed like a small house. The roof is bright pink, but only covers the front half of the case. The front section is made of white plastic and has a large arched window cut into it, and brick detail around the window. The back section of the case is made of pale pink plastic and has a large oval window cut into it. Obviously the inclusion of these large openings makes the thing pretty useless as a carry case, as all of the small components inside the case tend to fall out of the gaps when you are carrying it! The case is hinged at the side and you pull apart the plastic clasp on the other side to open up the case to reveal the interior of the shop. All of the components of the set fit neatly inside with no problems. The case can be a bit fiddly for a young child to unclasp, and certainly, I think anyone under 6 would struggle to open the case. The white side of the shop is on the left and is decorated with stickers to make it look like the interior of a beauty parlour, including a tiled area with curtains, which I presume is meant to be a shower, and a little row of towels on a rack. The right hand side has two Hello Kitty posters on the wall and a long sticker which runs along the base of the wall depicting different bows and accessories. The stickers are already in place when you buy the case. You don't need to stick them on, as is the case in some playsets and games. The two halves of the parlour can be pulled apart and you can stack thewhite one on top of the pink to make a 2 storey building as bepicted on the box. This again, is quite fiddly to do, and my daughter struggled to prise the two sections apart without help, and I think there was a real risk of snapping the plastic if not done carefully.
Hello Kitty: You get a decent sized, 2.5 inch high plastic Hello Kitty toy with the set. It was bigger than I expected, as I though it may be something similar to Polly Pocket in size. She is very light, being made of two pieces of moulded plastic joined together and hollow in the middle, so not particularly solid and liable to crack if trodden on! She wears a pink pair of dungarres with a green shirt inderneath and has a purple bow in her hair, She carries a green bag. None of these accessories are removeable, and you can't change her clothes, as they are painted on. I say this, because there is a dress up doll, where you can change the outfits, which is a similar size to this doll, but that is part of a different playset.
Dogs: As this is a dog beauty parlour, there are two little plastic dogs included, which is a bit odd as they are being groomed by a humanoid cat! The first dog is a little white poodle with pink ears, paws and tail, and a mop of pink curls on its head, the other dog is a brown dog wearing a red coat. None of the parts of the dogs move, and the hair is moulded on, rather than being synthetic doll hair, which would have been nicer to brush in my opinion.
Scales: The scales are part of the set, but are a bit basic, with no numbers on. There is room on the scale for the dogs to sit, but the only part that moves is the yellow plastic arrow on the dial, which has a bit of a limited range, and there is nothing for it to point to apart from a hello kitty picture at the top of the dial. The words "Hello Kitty" are etched into the back of the dial.
Bath: The yellow bath is shaped like hello Kittys head and has a blue shower head attatched to where her bow should be. This is not moveable though. The dogs are a perfect size to fit in the bath, and as they are plastic, it does not harm to add a bit of real water and give them a proper wash!
Mirror: This pretty mirror is shaped the same as the bath, It is bright pink and the inset mirror is oval in shape.
Extras: There is also a small hand mirror, a brush, a comb, a perfume bottle, a hairdryer, talc bottle and a bubble bath bottle all made of moulded plastic.
Although I had dismissed this set as a bit of plastic tat, my daughter really loves it and has lots of fun playing with it. We actually keep it in our big pink dolls house(see other review), where it is almost like a little ensuite bathroom, and it is the perfect place to keep it to avaoid all the bits getting lost. The worst thing for me, about toys like this is that all the bits inevitably end up scattered around the house. Luckily, this hasn't happened yet, but I'm sure it will, due to the gaping holes in the side of the case. As part of the dolls house, it also means that we can use the accesories on our wooden doll family, and in addition to their Lego furniture, they now have a bath and a mirror, as well as lots of beauty products!
We like to play "shops" together with this set. One of us will be Hello Kitty, the shopkeeper, and the other one is the dog owner. I bring my dog to the shop, and my daughter asks what I want today: A bath, brush, perfume or other treatment. We have a little list of prices, and we sometimes do a 3 for 2 deal, where you get free perfume if you pay for a weighing session and a bath! My daughter will then bath the dog and pretend to brush it and I come back and tell her what a lovely job she has done. Then we swap roles. Sometimes the dogs are naughty and don't want a bath, and we chase them around the parlour trying to catch them. My daughter also has a pretty extensive collection of puppy in my pocket toys, which are a similar size to the dogs included in the set, so when we include them too, we have lots of customers for our shop. When her friend came round the other day to play, they both sat for ages on the carpet playing with the dogs and the parlour. It really kept their attention for a surprisingly long time.
This is a nice toy to play with on its own or in conjunction with other toys. As a beauty parlour, you could also include dolls or soft toy animals as customers. It would appeal to little girls aged between 3 and 9, especially hello Kitty fans, or anyone who enjoys imaginative storytelling and role play. I still think that £10 is a bit steep for what you get, and would have thought that it would have been better placed at about £5, but I suppose you pay for the brand.