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I was set on buying my daughter a wooden kitchen for Christmas 2012 and after buying one I realised I needed to get some wooden accessories to go with it too. After looking around they were a lot more costly than I imagined and decided to use my Tesco clubcard vouchers to buy some sets from Tesco.
This Carousel cupcake tea set is only available to buy from Tesco either in stores that sell toys or online from Tesco Direct. The set currently costs £13 but can be bought cheaper with clubcard vouchers when Tesco are doing their double up promotions.
I was a little disappointed when I went to collect my parcel full of toys. The box for this tea set was quite small so I didn't think the individual pieces would be that big but after opening the box and inspecting the contents I was pleasantly surprised, the box was only small as the pieces were packaged in a Tetris puzzle type way! The packaging isn't anything special to look at, the box contains the normal red Carousel branding and a cute picture of the contents on the front. The tea set contains a huge amount of pieces for the price, I was debating buying a tea set from Early Learning Centre, but the amount of pieces wasn't as much as this Carousel set and it cost a lot more. This set contains a tea pot, two teabags on string, four cups, four saucers, four spoons, a milk pot, sugar pot and a tea towel.
The majority of the contents of the tea set are made from wood the only bits that aren't are, obviously, the tea towel and the string on the tea bags. The material used only the tea towel is on the flimsy and thin side but as it's so big I tend to fold it up for my daughter and she plays with it like that. The wooden elements of the set are made to a high quality and made from a thick durable wood that doesn't show any signs of splintering even though it's been played with a lot. The pieces are all painted in a pastel shade of pink with darker pink detailing. Most of the pieces also have a cute cupcake design painted on them in pale green and yellow, I like this element as it does break the pink up a little. It is definitely cute and girly. The sugar and milk pots have text written on them so you can identify each one; my daughter identifies the difference by the different shapes of the pots so she doesn't end up putting sugar in my tea! The tea bags are quite cute and on the end have a small white wooden rectangle with white dots to make them look like proper dunk-able tea bags. The tea pot and the cups all have handles that are made in a nice size so it is easy to handle each one properly without man handling them, even with my stubby fingers I can hold them without a problem. The handles have a cute curvy design which adds to the overall look of them.
I went down the wooden toy route for Christmas more for my sanity than my daughters, most toys these days sing, dance and make too much noise for my liking and when I was a child I never had any of that so didn't see why my daughter had to have it too. She gets as much enjoyment out of wooden toys as she does electronic ones so why not?! The thing I like about this tea set is that it is so basic but at the same time provides hours and hours of play. It is solely down to my daughter's imagination and she doesn't have any bells or whistles telling her what to do or what to press. Everything that you might need to make a cup of tea is included in the set so my daughter can make tea with or without sugar and milk and often asks guests how they want their tea; she has perfected my cup of tea to a T (very milky without sugar if you were wondering!).
The set is made to a very high standard and I would say it matches the quality of Early Learning Centre wooden kitchen products but beats them on price hands down. My daughter has had a lot of play out of her tea set and it isn't showing any signs of chipping and the paint is still in a pristine condition. I've washed the tea towel alongside my normal washing on a 40 degree wash and it has come out as good as new. The age recommendation states that this set is suitable for children over the age of three; I think this is about right as the sugar pot has a small lid and the tea bags could pose choking hazards.
I would, without a doubt, recommend this Carousel cupcake tea set if you are on the lookout for wooden kitchen accessories or a standalone tea set as it can be used on its own or alongside other kitchen toys. It is made to a very high standard, hardwearing and contains a great amount of pieces. It brings out my daughters imagination and helps build her social skills. It's the perfect addition to her wooden kitchen.