RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Alex

My Kidz n Cats Alister doll, 11 joints

Alex (Kids n Cats) in a Suit

Posted on

A few people, including someone named Mouse, have showed interest in the Design a Friend morning suit I posted about a few months ago, wanting to know if it would fit a Kidz n Cats doll. So I had fun playing dress-up and the answer is, yes, it certainly does. I got the camera out to show just how well!

Alex posing in the suit

The trousers are the perfect length, the waist is correct and allows for the shirt tails to be tucked in without bunching, and as you can see the long tailed morning coat also fits nicely, all in all a very good look for Alex. I think the suit actually fits this doll much better.

The shoes fit, though they are a little loose and would probable work better with some socks underneath – they’re secure enough and he stands in them which is the main thing however.

Alex in the suit, rear view

The coat is perfectly fitted and the length is about right even though Alex has shorter legs then the Design a Friend dolls, or my Gotz Harry Potter doll that originally modelled the outfit.

Its quite a posh suit for a little boy though, and I think I prefer the outfit without the coat, now Alex is a pageboy at the wedding rather than the groom, and doesn’t he look darling?

Alex in the suit without the coat

As I said in the original post, this is an excellent outfit, well designed and constructed with good quality fabrics, one of the best outfits from the Design a Friend range, and ideal for Kidz n Cats to wear. Alex is feeling very handsome indeed and looking round for the bridesmaid now..

Portrait of Alex in a suit

Beth – Design a Friend My Little Sister Bridesmaid

Posted on

Portrait of Beth

Meet Beth, one of a new range of smaller dolls joiuing the Chad Valley Design a Friend series exclusive to Argos (joining Lindy reviewed here and Josh the boyfriend doll I wrote about in this post).

The Little Sister dolls are 14″ (36cm) tall and like the 18″ girl dolls have a soft body with vinyl arms and legs jointed at shoulder and hips, plus a turning vinyl head with plastic eyes and rooted hair.

Design a Friend little sister doll box

A lovely purple stripey box rather smaller than the standard doll boxes, which contains..

Design a Friend Little sister doll box 2

Tissue paper and underneath..

Design a Friend Little Sister doll box 3

One little sister doll! The box is made of sturdy cardboard, and also if you look at the photo has a handy shelf at the top which holds the second outfit that comes with this doll (more on that later).

Little Sister doll posing

And here she is revealed, all ready for the wedding.Her dress features a pink satin sleeveless bodice with a pink sash and flower detail to the waist, which leads to a white satin skirt with netting over, dotted with matching pink buterflies. Her shoes are white sandals with pink detailing. Its quite an elegant dress for a young girl, and there is a matching bridesmead dress in the same shades available for the larger dolls in the range also.

Beth has brown eyes and long straight brown hair which brushes easily and holds styles well.

Little Sister doll - hair detail

Her second outfit is a pink and white striped onesie, which is very cute, although not too well designed as the cuffs are too narrow for her hands, requiring some snipping of the stitching to actually get the clothing on the doll, not a good design detail at all.

Little Sister Sleepsuit

So how does Beth fit in size wise with other dolls? Well, she is certainly in good proportion to the standard Design a Friend dolls – here she is with Lindy, you can see the family resemblance in terms of basic face mould and eyes:

Design a Friend Little Sister with Design a Friend Lindy

She makes a good little sister for Kidz n Cats dolls also, here’s Beth with Alex:

Design a Friend Little Sister with Alex

And here’s the whole family, girlfriend, boyfriend and little sister:

Design a Friend Family

As mentioned before, this version of the Little Sister doll is ready for the wedding party, with a wedding dress and morning suit for the large dolls available along with a bridesmaid dress. You can read my review of said morning suit here.

I’m quite pleased with Beth, her dress is very pretty and I like the hair, and she’s made to the same standards as the larger dolls though perhaps looks a little cheaper and more plasticky, she’s also priced the same which I think is a mistake. Other than the extra outfit supplied, there are no clothes available for this size of doll from Chad Valley: luckily a couple of Ebay doll outfit makers have come up trumps with suitable clothing to fit such a small doll, I imagine shoes will be an issue however.

As a collector she’s a sweet little addition but not really destined to be a favourite. For a child however I think it expands the play possibilities nicely to have a sibling doll, so I hope Argos will keep this size of doll in the range and produce new versions and outfits in the future.

Lindy – Design a Friend

Posted on

Portrait of Lindy

Not all 18″ play dolls need to be expensive: despite my preference for the Gotz and Kidz n Cats level of doll, I’ll never turn down a pretty face. Back in 2011 Argos spotted a market niche and came up with the Design a Friend range, made by long-established toy manufacturer Chad Valley. The clever marketing idea (which still applies today) offered you a doll, outfit and accessory pack of your choice for a discount on the individual price, and dolls with blonde, brunette and red hair, along with the Alesha doll with her darker skin and cascading dark curls.  Each doll has its own name and a different outfit, though based on a simple tunic and leggings idea, with shoes. The range also includes new fashions introduced each season, and new accessories such as a bed, a carrying case, even a make-up set.

So, meet Lindy – here she is newly unboxed in her original outfit of long cerise tunic, black leggings and pink shoes. Also shown are the various boxes for her extra outfit which was a blue striped jumper, leggings and beige knee high boots and the accessory pack of underwear:

Lindy Unboxed

Its a great example of how to emulate the expensive dolls like American Girl but on a budget, and despite only costing £20 for a doll they are very well made. The dolls come in a cardboard box, in candy-stripe pink with the Design a Friend logo on the outside and the doll wrapped in a single sheet of tissue paper within. The box is quite thin card but sturdy enough to be re-used for keeping the clothes in, for example. I also like the way the outfits are packed, in their own pink candy-stripe boxes and wrapped in tissue paper, like high end fashion choices –  such a clever and attractive way of doing things rather than a blister pack or some other toy-like packaging.

Design a Friend clothes box

Each doll comes with a charm bracelet for the new owner to wear, and each outfit includes a charm to add to said bracelet, thus encouraging collection.

The dolls themselves are the ubiquitous soft body with vinyl limbs type – jointed at hips and shoulders, the head also moves from side to side though does not tilt, and the plastic eyes are fixed, not sleep-eyes. The body is shaded the same as the skin tone of the limbs. The stuffed body is not as firm as other cloth-body dolls, probably to give the doll some shape – in the image below you can see she has a clearly defined waist, rather than being a solid up and down shape as is more usual. It has the added effect of making the doll quite cuddly, but means she doesn’t stand up too well on her own.

Deisgn a Friend doll unclothed

She’s s little out of proportion, with very slender limbs compared to the head size, and quite skinny legs, though this is less obvious depending on the outfit. Some of the pants/tights therefore are a bit tight on other 18″ dolls, though in the main she can share clothes with them all. The doll is suprisingly well made for this price point and should stand up to a decent amount of play from a child, the outfits too are generally of good quality, attractive designs, well cut and securely sewn.

There are several Ebay sellers creating clothes specifically for the Design a Friend range (which will also fit Gotz, Kidz n Cats etc) which makes them a good choice for a child – new outfits won’t break the bank!

Lindy Posing

Here Lindy is wearing a dress from one of the Ebay designers, along with tights and shoes from Frilly Lily.  I love the hair on this doll, its full and luxuriant and just flows down so well, and looks good loose or pulled back by a head band (that’s actually a pearl necklace doing double duty). Its perhaps the hair that makes this specific doll look so good, the other Design a Friend dolls generally have straight hair, great for styling but not as eye-catching to my mind.

The Design a Friend outfits work well on the more expensive dolls – as shown in the photos below.

Lindy & Jessie in Design a Friend Outfits (with dog!)

Lindy’s blue spot dress, cardy and sparkly shoes set was in the original range of outfits from Design a Friend, while Jessie wears the jumper/leggings outfit I got along with Lindy. Flat cap by Nellie Rose.

Katy in a Design a Friend pink gown & wrap

I think Katy looks quite glamorous in this long pink satin dress with white wrap and silver sandals. There’s usually a ball gown type design in the Chad Valley range, in varying colours each year.

Helene modelling a Design a Friend red cocktail dress

This red cocktail dress with sparkly sandals and matching satin hairband didn’t look quite right on Lindy but suits Helene a treat. Her escort in back is Alex in a Nellie Rose suede jacket and his original outfit jeans and boots.

Lindy and the Girls

For me, she straddles the  line nicely between “doll” and “little person” and doesn’t seem too out of place with the other girls, especially when dressed nicely. That’s Katy (Gotz), Helene (Kidz n Cats) and Jessie (Zwergnase Junior) with Lindy above, all of them costing 3 or 4 times as much.

(Katy & Helene wear Nellie Rose, Jessie a dress from My Doll Best Friend and Lindy’s brown frock is from the Serendipity collection)
(The instrument is not a guitar but a tenor ukulele..)

Bree and Lindy

Lindy posing with Bree from The Dolls House.

I think the Design a Friend dolls and clothes are a triumph of budget design, and as they are still going strong after several years it seems other people agree with me. This year, Chad Valley introduced a boy doll, Josh, to the range, and also two little sister dolls – and both Josh and the youngsters already have avid Ebay designers sewing away to provide a wardrobe of clothes, there being as yet no offical outfits for same.

I’d not swap Lindy for Katy or Maru but she fits in nicely with the gang, and holds her own against them, despite the price difference. And I love this snap I took of Lindy with Alice (Gotz Happy Kidz) and Katy.

Trio

 

Images of pink boxes © original owners (found at random via google)

Maru and the Boys

Posted on

Maru in a pink t-shirt with roses

Hello Maru, you look very pretty today

“Yes, its my new outfit, I love these pink roses!” Maru replies

Going somewhere special?

“Just babysitting…”

Alice & Maru in b&w

“Hey, its my turn to babysit,” complains Alice.

“She’s taking photos of us all, and I got here first!” comes the response.

Now, girls, there’ll be plenty of other chances – Alice, do you really want to keep those two rascals under control?

“Hmm, you might be right…” Alice agrees

Alex with Jamie in his pjs

“We’re not rascals!!” saysAlex, indignantly. “Look, Jamie’s in his pjs already!”

That’s very good Jamie. Maru, what story will you be telling them tonight?

“Its a secret! I’ll whisper it to him though..”

Maru whispering to Jamie

::much whispered discussion::

Something wrong?

“He doesn’t want to hear about the rainbow elephant, can you read us the story about Fei Li and the pandas please?” explains Maru

That’s a bit exciting for bedtime… oh, go on then. Where did we get to last time?

Karito KIds Ling book

Um, Alex?

“Huh? I mean, yes?”

You don’t look ready for bed yet..

Alex in a red check shirt

“Er.. I was helping Jamie? And I can’t undo these laces myself… Maru, can you help me?”

You do the innocent look very well there! I’ll believe you, thousands wouldn’t.

Wait a sec, why don’t you all pose for a photo and then you can get changed and have your story.

Maru and the boys

There we go. So cute!

“We’re not cute!! We’re boys, we don’t do cute!” grumbles Alex

“You can say I’m cute, I don’t mind” Jamie mumbles, blushing.

Jamie blushing

Maru giggles.

___

Jamie’s pyjamas, Alex’s shirt and Maru’s jeans all made by Nellie Rose

Alex’s jeans and boots part of a Kidz n Cats original outfit

Pink roses t-shirt from My Doll Best Friend

The gang’s (almost) all here

Posted on

Having done introductory posts for nearly all the dolls in my “gang” I thought I’d share this cool group photo I took the other day – absent are Héléne and Jamie as they were too busy giggling together in the other room to take part.

Gang of Dolls

From left to right standing:

Grace (Gotz Hannah at the Ballet)

Katy (Gotz Hannah and her Dog 2010)

Maru (Maru & Friends)

Jessie (Zwergnase Junior Dorte)

Alex (Kidz n Cats Alister)

Seated:

Alice (Gotz Happy Kidz Emily 2012)

Ariane (Kidz n Cats)

Some of the clothes were made by Nellie Rose, exceptions being Ariane’s blue petal dress, Katy’s white broderie dress and the pink t-shirt that Maru is wearing which are all from My Doll Best Friend. Jessie’s outfit is from the Argos Design a Friend range, Alice’s dress was made by an Ebay designer and Alex is wearing the jeans, legwarmers and boots from his original outfit.

I think they look pretty good together, despite the varying looks of each brand they make a fun bunch of friends (and of course there was the usual argument about who got to wear what, all the girls reckon Ariane has hogged that lovely blue dress way too long by now!)

The gane in b&w

Alex – Kidz n Cats

Posted on

Another day, another doll to share and show off! This time its the turn of Alex, who is a Kidz n Cats Alister doll. Created in 2011 he was one of the first of the 11 jointed dolls in the Kidz n Cats range (since then all new dolls have had 11 joints) and is one of only 3 boy dolls in the current range.

Portrait of Alex

Alex has short brown hair and blue eyes (brown eyes would make more sense but those baby blues are gorgeous nonetheless) and a sweet expression. The Kidz n Cats dolls share face moulds between girl and boy dolls so its impressive how boyish he looks, and slighly mischievous too.

He’s shown here in one of the many cute boy outfits made by Nellie Rose, but I have to say his original clothing takes the biscuit and he didn’t get changed out of those clothes for months after he joined the gang here.  Said outfit comprises a pale blue t-shirt, a beige checked long sleeve cotton shirt with buttons, over the top of which is worn a grey tweed jacket with a clever insert to look as though he’s also wearing a waistcoat. He has stone-wash jeans with dark grey legwarmers (sounds a little odd but looks great), little cotton boxer shorts and finally some really heavy duty boots and thick grey socks. Oh and a matching tweed cap.

Here’s the offical pic from the With Heart and Soul website:

Alister offical pic

Most of the dolls come with a cat and I should mention that Alex/Alister’s feline friend also sports a tiny tweed cap!

I think the whole ensemble and his face give him quite the urchin look, destined to melt the hardest heart – a real character, in fact apart from the jeans which would be anachronistic he makes me think he should be one of Sherlock Holmes’ Baker Street irregulars, dashing about and getting into trouble, a wee cockney tearaway with of course a heart of gold.

He looks great in more modern clothes too, the jeans & boots here are the originals, teamed with a Nellie Rose shirt.

Alex Posing

I mentioned the 11 joints, I’ve talked before about the posability of these dolls but I think the extra wrist joints do allow for more expressive poses, even if sometimes the hands never seem to be pointing quite the same way. Now, is he asking for a hug or about to catch something?

Alex's hands

My other Kidz n Cats boy doll is Jamie (the now-discontinued Bobo) and they look great together, blue eyed darlings the both of them, hanging around and planning what to play next. The only differences I suppose are the different hair colours and slightly different styles but you’d not mistake one for t’other, demonstrating Sonja Hartmann’s real skill in ensuring each doll stands out from the crowd.

Alex and Jamie portrait

Jamie has the edge in terms of looks and is my favourite of the two but Alex comes a very close second here and deserves a place in anybody’s collection, or as a special friend for a little girl (or boy).

Alexin black & white

Whether he looks like an urchin or a 21st century kid, Alex/Alister is cute as a button, and there can never be too many boy dolls out there.

Image with tweed cap © With Heart and Soul