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My little girl's birthday is at the start of January so I am lucky that we can usually pick a fair amount of her presents up in the sales. While I was in Argos I came across this teapot for just £10 supposedly reduced from £30. My little girl has a strange obsession with Hello Kitty I decided to pick it up for her. It looked impressive for the £10 we paid, a large tea pot that opens up to reveal two different floors. Then using the many accessories you receive you can turn this area into a cafe for imaginative play.
In the set you receive the tea pot itself, a number of tables, two figures to use inside the cafe, a menu board, 2 chairs, 2 drinks and a few other bits and pieces. The accessories are all made from durable plastic but they are rather small. You can store the pieces inside the teapot itself, but this can prove difficult to be able to shut it without them falling out. You can also store some pieces in the roof terrace at the top of the tea pot, but this is too small to store all of the pieces. This was our first problem as some of the accessories are easily lost with no real storage for them to be held in.
At the top of the teapot is a slightly transparent dome area that doubles as a roof terrace. This is great and you can add the two tea cup seats for Hello Kitty and her friend to sit inside and enjoy their food. These also spin around and around which my daughter thought was fantastic. There is not a huge amount of room to play on each level as the shelves that form the floors are rather shallow and not big enough for huge amounts of play, but it is still usable.
There are doors and windows to add to your child's imagination, and the whole set is very pretty made with pink plastic. There are flowers and bows printed all over the teapot and the whole design was definitely well thought out to appeal to younger girls. My little girl thought it was absolutely amazing, and despite never watching Hello Kitty she has began a small obsession with the kitty character so she was very pleased.
The idea is to use the accessories to design your cafe however you would like it. The problem is the floors of the cafe are rather small compared to the size of the tea pot and this actually leaves little room for play. My daughter tends to make it sunny outside so she can place the table and chairs on the floor and just use the tea pot as the back ground. Only a few of the tables and chairs actually balance on the ledges, and other than the counter and the tea cups on the roof terrace it is difficult to get much use out of the tea pot itself.
It is recommended from four years plus but I think because of the amount of the accessories this could be raised a little. My girl received it for her fourth birthday, so at the very bottom end of the recommendation and we just found all of the accessories were a little fiddly for her. When the tea cups come of the top of the tea pot her little hands were unable to replace them so that was a job for mummy. Again the stairs are a pain and they fall off every two seconds so in the end she gave up replacing them, and now the characters fly to the upper levels. They do click into place, but as they have to be removed to put the tea pot back together they unclick at the slightest knock.
It is not overly well made. It is made of thick plastic so durable in that sense, but all of the accessories come away and get lost easily. Also the tea cups need to be re added to the roof terrace every two seconds, and the tea pot itself has been dropped so it split in two. You can put it back together as it is on hinges but again it is another frustrating thing for a young child while they are trying to play. The accessories are well designed and give a boost to my little girl's imagination, but the teapot itself seems pretty useless. My little girl loves this set but she becomes frustrated with it too easily. She plays with it at least once a day, but it is short lived as it really does not hold her attention.
Would I recommend?
Yes I would but not at the £30 retail price I would say £20 is the most I would pay at a push. Also, I believe it would be best suited to a slightly older child maybe 5 or 6 due to the many small and fiddly parts that can be annoying for smaller children. My little girl does enjoy playing with this, but it is something that is used for short amounts of times because she gets annoyed with having to replace everything over and over again. The figures are great as are the accessories and these have been well received by my little girl who uses them in different sets. Basically it is a pretty plastic backdrop that does help fuel the imagination, but not for great periods of time.