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The last time I received an Amazon voucher I remembered I'd promised (then) four year old Hollie a new suitcase as she was due to have a few nights away with her aunt and uncle and her current Barbie case is looking a little shabby. After much searching we decided on this LW branded 3D 'Funny Animal' suitcase, there were no Amazon reviews but it looked very cute and from the text and photos provided I imagined it was going to be of excellent quality so I paid my £29 and waited for it to arrive. From the second I unwrapped it I had a feeling I was going to be disappointed; it felt incredibly plasticky and seemed smaller than the dimensions given on the website, the colours of our chosen case were also very dull and appeared almost faded as though it had been stored for a long time before I came along to purchase it.
Hollie had chosen a sweet looking butterfly; the fact that the wings are attached to the front of the case (and therefore look nothing like butterfly wings) didn't fill me with joy, but the very sweet smiling face made up for this despite the fact that it was a simple print on the front of the case. Hang on a minute, why am I calling this a case? It's a small square rucksack that has been cunningly called a 'case' on Amazon to trick us parents into thinking it's something better than it really is! With a height of 30cm and a width of just 21cm it's more schoolbag size than suitcase, in fact when holding it against Hollie's school issued book bag I can see it's pretty much identical in size - and considering the book bag is designed to hold no more than three flimsy paperback books I think you can safely say you're not going to fit anything close to a holiday's worth of clothes in it!
The suitcase is wheeled, but as LW have chosen to make it a transformable bag/case these wheels are detachable for your 'convenience'. Yes, because providing us with an awkward to fit trolley section which doesn't even FIT in the gaps allocated for it is very 'convenient' LW, thank you. It's ridiculous; to fit the wheeled trolley section you have to faff around undoing the rucksack style straps completely, attempt to hold everything out of the way and then hold the plastic trolley in place while screwing in three minuscule screws which are helpfully placed below a immovable flap of the bag. Total nightmare. Anyway, after much cursing and general shoutiness Mark managed to fit the wheels - with the caveat that he was never going to take it apart again!
It really wasn't worth it. The handle isn't adjustable (although it does appear that it should be) and even though Hollie is a rather dainty child it was just too low for her to comfortably pull the case along, being raised only an inch or so from the top of the bag. The problem is that once the trolley section is fitted the rucksack straps are not usable, so Mark had to go through the awkward effort of removing it once again in order to turn it back into a normal style bag. I decided I'd let Hollie use it for school after that, obviously to pay £29 for a simple school bag is a bit of a joke but as I'd already bought the thing I thought she might as well get at least some use out of it.
And yes. Another disappointment. The interior of the case is literally covered in long loose threads of cotton, something which is absolutely astounding (and rather confusing) considering this cheap and nasty bag seems to be 100% glued together without a single stitch in sight other than a couple which hold the straps together. Where have these threads come from? The colours don't match anything on the exterior of the bag and it's an absolute mystery why they're there. They're a blinking nuisance, that I do know - Hollie came out of school quite upset on the first day she'd taken the bag in because her PE kit had become entangled on the threads and she had to ask her teacher to take it out for her, not good when you have such an independent child! Likewise her books (which the school puts in 'packets' for safe keeping) kept getting stuck as she tried to slide them out, again not ideal for a kiddie who dislikes asking for help even when she's struggling slightly.
The final straw came when one of the straps broke after three weeks of semi-regular use. I actually saw it break; one minute it was fine and the next minute I watched one section of the strap fly upwards and the other section drop down. Hollie isn't hard on her stuff, in fact for her age she's very careful as she likes her things to stay in good condition - so when the Amazon seller mentioned that she had probably broken them herself it made me see red. For a start you'd need a very strong five year old to break a stitched canvas strap, not to mention the fact that the rest of the case was so appallingly made that it was completely unfit for purpose. A couple of threats of legal action later and I was packaging the case up for return and awaiting my refund - which, once I eventually received it, went on an alternative suitcase for Hollie which was not only cheaper but has already proved to be an excellent buy.
Avoid the Funny Animal 3D case like the plague, don't assume that because it's expensive it's going to be a good buy - we had nothing but trouble with ours and I regret the day I ever typed 'kids suitcase' into the Amazon search engine.