“ Brand: Zapf Creation / Type: Doll / Requires: 3 x AAA Batteries / „
Last year, whilst playing on the garden, Lauren decided to put her Baby Annabel in the paddling pool, luckily, it was the 'My First' version so no damage was incurred but it took ages to dry out so when I spotted this doll in the clearance section at Tesco Direct, I decided to buy as a surprise.
Lauren was really excited when she first saw it, the doll comes in a nice little swimming costume and matching sun hat (I likes this aspect as it encouraged Lauren to keep her sun hat on whilst in the paddling pool). You also set a little yellow bottle which I think is meant to be sun cream, a rattle and a small towel.
The doll requires 3 x AA batteries, which we quickly put in by removing three little screws from the back of the doll we then sat her in the water. She immediately started to thrash her arms around and rock her head slightly which Lauren loved and giggled at. We then went onto to try the walking motion which to operate, you must lift babies arms above her head, she will then start to move her legs in a walking motion. Lauren also put baby's arms above her head and lie her in the pool and she does a kind of swimming motion, moving her head from side to side whilst doing 'front crawl' legs.
Despite the comments above, Lauren loved the doll, but I am afraid the excitement was short-lived. We put baby the baby away after the first week of use, the mechanisms didn't work. I initially thought that the batteries may have died as they weren't particularly good ones however when we replaced, nothing happened. Although we didn't experience any tears, and Lauren does still play with the doll, the fact that the main function of the doll failed after the first use, made this a very disappointing purchase for me.
One of the annoying things I found with the doll was that whenever the baby moved, there was a loud mechanical 'whirring' noise. Because of the mechanical's within the arms and legs of the doll, they are very stiff to move, you can hear a clicking noise as you move then around, they sometimes become stiff and need a bit of force to move. The body of the doll is also very hard making not a very 'cuddly baby'.
The price of the doll can vary from £15 - £30, I think when I purchased it was a miss-price at Tesco as it only cost me around £6, for £6 I wasn't too upset with the performance but it is certainly not worth anywhere near £30.
Overall, although Lauren has played with it quite a lot, I wouldn't recommend, it is too hard and stiff to be played with and the swimming function is poor so I would only give 2 out of 5 stars.
Thanks for reading.
Her birthday may not be long gone, but the four year old is already busy compiling her Christmas list for Father Christmas. This is due to a few reasons; having an elder sister, exposure to commercial tv and endless adverts, but also I'm afraid to say having made some dud choices for her birthday - case in point this doll.
Reasons for Purchase:
This doll has been heavily advertised on children's tv, the advert shows a doll splashing and walking to its proud owner's finger tips. To a, at the time, three year old, it was clearly very alluring, as my daughter wanted this for months and months. Part of me thought it looked a bit dodgy (the batteries and water thing), but pester power is a wonderful thing, and though I wasn't prepared to pay £29.99, the average price for this, when I saw it at £22 at Tesco I thought it was a reasonable price for Granny to pay, and so Granny duly bought it. I have since seen it sold for £12 at Asda, and up to £37 in Amazon.
What you get:
This is a smaller doll - it's 25cm high. As you can see in the picture it comes with a swimming costume, a sun hat, a small bottle with a removable lid, (suncream maybe?) a towel and a rattle.
The costume and accessories are quite nicely made; the costume and bottle both have glittery details - always appreciated by girls - and the little costume and hat are both easily put on and off by little hands. Though the doll does come in rather a lot of box and ties - what toy doesn't these days? On first sight this item actually seems quite good - the doll isn't obviously freaky looking, the arms and legs are nice and soft, it's appealing to children. The eyes don't open or shut, there's an on and off button on the back of the doll, and a hole at the bottom to let out water.
The proof is in the playing:
Unfortunately my daughter's delight with this longed for object was to be short lived. We followed the (very good and in multiple languages) instructions carefully, and dolly duly had 3 AA batteries inserted in her back through a rather grisly operation involving a Phillip's screwdriver . We were then ready to get her to walk and splash.
To get her to walk you have to put her arms above her head - doing this, even before things went quite quickly wrong, was rather disconcerting. The arms click around, the overall affect is of dislocated limbs and a little bit strange. At first, to be fair, the doll did sort of walk - it made a bit of a strange sound but by supporting the arms the doll advanced more or less like in the advert if in a bit of a zombified fashion, that to be fair disturbed me more than my daughter.
When you sit the doll down in water - there is a sensor apparently, again by bending the strangely articulated limbs, she is supposed to splash and move her head - this at first she did do, a bit randomly and it was hard to sit her up properly, but though I found her whole movements a bit freaky, my daughter was pretty happy with it. I would have to say though that she got more fun from watching water drain out the bottom of the doll "look mummy she's doing wee wee in her paddling pool!" - than watching her splash in unconvincing fashion. As her head rocked back and forth she did tend to lean over quite quickly, but she did sort of splash as billed, though mainly her hands flailed around mid air as I didn't want to put too much water in cased she broke - ironically.
Unfortunately, my intial thoughts that water and batteries probably shouldn't mix, were soon proved right. The doll worked in water about twice and then "died" - no amount of changing of batteries or jiggling of the limbs could revive this monster baby. I do feel that we had made the battery compartment as tight as we could, as instructed, and only used in very shallow water - it made no difference.
To be fair when I phoned the manufacturer they did offer to take the doll back - and we may still send it back, however for the moment my daughter is strangely loyal to the doll which has been residing in the new dolls' bed she got for her birthday and being cared for with her doctor's set. I fear, however, that this doll's problems are terminal and no amount of loving care is going to cure her.
As you can probably tell I really wouldn't recommend this doll. Cute it certainly is, but I don't think it is, in all fairness, fit for purpose, and it most certainly doesn't live up to the advert. Once it has (inevitably?) stopped working, you are left with a doll with limbs that move strangely into weird angles, that doesn't deliver what it promises. The exterior and the doll are fairly well made, just the splashing idea is perhaps rather over ambitious.
In retrospect I should never have allowed a three year old input into her birthday choices, but you live and you learn. I have found the manufacturer, Zapf, good to deal with thus far, but I do think that this is one of the poorer dolls in their range and honestly wouldn't suggest anyone buy it. At £12 it is just about an OK buy, but at the much higher prices I have seen it sold for, it really just isn't worth the risk.
Disappointing, but I should have known better.