“ Brand: Intelex / Type: Novelty cushion / Available: Various animal designs / Travel version also available „
My kids had seen a range of pillows that convert into cuddly toys advertised on a children's tv channel and badgered me to get them one. A quick google led me to discover that the range in question, Huggle Buddies, cost £20 each which was far more than I was willing to pay for a glorified cushion - however cute! Rather randomly, I stumbled upon the Intelex version of the same product, these Pillowheads, in my local Post Office for just £9.99 each.
The concept behind these converting pillows is incredibly simple. The body is essentially a small pillow with a cute animal head and legs and/or tail attached, as appropriate to the individual animal. The clever feature is the addition of a velcro strap which means that the pillow can be folded in half and it then converts into a delightful free-standing toy.
I bought my middle son the bumblebee version from this range for his fourth birthday back in July. He was besotted with this from the outset and the bumblebee goes to bed with him each night. There are several different creatures in the range, including a dog, ladybird and a sheep, amongst other animals. I do think the bumblebee is the most attractive and eye catching, though, with its bright yellow and black exterior. I particularly like the cute little antennae which frame its happy smiling little face.
The exterior is wonderfully soft and fluffy and is one of those really tactile textures that just makes you want to snuggle up or keep stroking it. As a pillow, this is well padded and comfortable to lay on, as my son can testify. It also works surprisingly well as a playable soft toy, with the velcro strap proving to be robust enough to keep the pillow in the required shape, withstanding being cuddled and thrown about when strapped together. I find the velcro strap easy to attach and detach although my four year old struggles with this slightly and generally has to ask me for help to do it.
I quite rightly expected my four year old to fall in love with it but I hadn't anticipated just how much his older brother would love it too! The two of them can create an argument about anything but this bee has been the source of many fallings out, as big brother tries to 'borrow' this! At nine years old, I thought he would be getting too old for things like this but he insisted otherwise and put a dog version on his list to Santa!
I actually ended up buying an even cheaper non-branded version of this toy for both my other two boys this Christmas, paying just £4.99 each from a branch of the Yorkshire Trading Company. My boys haven't noticed any difference between their toys but close inspection does suggest that the genuine Pillowhead version is better quality than the cheaper options. The stitching has already started to come away from the face on one of the cheap versions, whereas the bumblebee is still in immaculate condition, even after a couple of machine washes. Fortunately this is machine washable, on a cool wash, which is just as well as my son insists on carting this about the house with him, as well as taking it to bed. After washes, the pillow dries easily and the fur soon reverts back to normal.
He has even taken it out in the car and used it as an actual travel cushion. I'm not convinced that this is particularly comfortable when used in that way as the pillow is quite bulky and seems to push his head a little too far forward to be properly relaxing. He insists that he is perfectly comfortable, however!
For around the £10 mark, this is a wonderful gift for a child or even an adult who still loves soft toys. There are more expensive, as well as cheaper versions available but I think the Pillowheads are reasonably priced, considering the quality of the fabric, stitching and the attention to detail on the toy itself. The only drawback is that they don't appear to be particularly widely available although there are some of the varieties in stock from third party sellers on Amazon.
I like to think I've seen most products out there but when my daughter received this for her birthday I have to admit it was completely new to me.
In essence, this is a small pillow - but with the addition of some animal features! There are many different pillows in the range but the one my daughter has is a dog. The colours are different shades of brown, and the dog has a very cute little face with long floppy ears. He also has a small paw on each corner of the pillow.
The pillow is made completely of furry material and it is incredibly silky soft to the touch. It's super cuddly and very cute looking too. A great touch is that either side of the pillow is a little velcro tab so you can actually 'fold' the pillow in half, making it more of a traditional dog shape and enabling it to stand up. This is a really great idea as it makes the pillow a bit more versatile - if you don't want to use it in your child's bed, it can still be displayed as a toy. Clever.
My little girl is still in her cot and I haven't yet used this pillow in there. Instead it lives in the living room at the moment and we use it to play different games with (such as songs where she has to lie down). And I must confess I've had a little snuggle with it on a cold evening too! I do intend to use this as a pillow once she is in a bed, and I also think it will be great for travelling with - and maybe even camping if you happen to be a camping person (which I most definitely am not!!).
This isn't an essential item but it is a really fun gift for any young child, and is a nice twist on the more traditional cuddly toy. It is also one of the softest toys I have come across which is a great bonus and I don't think the product would really work otherwise.
Other pillows in the range include a pig, sheep, bee, ladybird, cow and duck and they cost about £10. My daughter's pillow is about 30cm across, but I have seen larger versions.
This would be a great buy if you are looking to revamp a child's bedroom, or are moving them from a cot to a bed. It makes a unique gift for a little one too!