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Unboxing Maru

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The other day I was delighted to receive a large and interesting box from Un Bonheur de Colibri, offical UK/EU stockists of Maru and Friends.

Maru and Friends dolls hail from Miami, Florida and are the brainchild of Maritza Gutierrez, with a range of five dolls and various outfits. Every doll comes with a storybook and the faces were lovingly designed by reknowned doll sculptor Dianna Effner. According to Maritza, each one “celebrates the beautiful attributes and culture of little girls.”

Maru herself is a little Latina girl who has come to America to start a new life in a new country.

Maru box  Maru box with tissue paper

In my parcel was a big orange box with cheerful cartoon images of Maru and a couple of friends, the equally orange tissue paper was pulled back to reveal..

Maru revealed

The first glimpse of Maru

Maru! Who looks absolutely gorgeous even tied in place for travel.

Before I discuss the doll herself I need to wax lyrical about the packaging, because the doll is held securely not with the annoying and fiddly to undo plastic coated wire ties you find holding Gotz and Kidz n Cats dolls in place but with simple lengths of white ribbon (padded with foam to prevent any damage to the vinyl). This is ingenious and much easier to remove, while still being a solid method of preventing movement.

Clever way of securing the doll in her box..

Clever way of securing the doll in her box..

Maru comes with her story book and a little matching handbag, and my parcel contained an extra surprise, Alexandra at Un Bonheur de Colibri had slipped in a little Moulin Roti dog as a friend for Maru, very thoughtful of her!

Maru in her box with handbag and storybook

Maru in her box with handbag and storybook

Having removed Maru from her packaging and taken off her hat to see her pretty face more clearly I noticed another brilliant idea – a hairnet keeping her hair sleek and tidy, too often dolls’ hair gets rather rumpled and tangled in transit so this is inspired.

This hainet works wonders at keeping the doll looking tidy

This hairnet works wonders at keeping the doll looking tidy

And here she finally is! Maru’s outfit consists of her short brown skirt with buckle, brown tights and boots, the very orange top and a stripey waistcoat as well as matching scarf and hat. She also wears little white knickers beneath it all. The quality of the clothes is excellent and they are very easy to take on and off, with buttons, press studs and velcro as applicable.

Full body shot of Maru in her original outfit

Full body shot of Maru in her original outfit

She is 20″ tall, so a little taller than the Gotz and Kidz n Cats ranges, but seems able to wear most clothes for dolls that size, though she has rather broader shoulders and a chunkier waist than Kidz n Cats, as well as longer legs than both brands of dolls, so I imagine not every outfit will fit perfectly. Her feet are much smaller however, luckily I ordered a pair of black Ugg boots until I can work out what other dolls have similar sized feet!

Maru is very posable, jointed at hips and shoulders and her head can move up and down as well as from side to side, allowing for a whole range of movement to give her life and personality. She has such an enchanting face, the eyes are beautifully done, a rich brown and the eyelashes are so delicate. Her hair is sleek and shiny and responds well to brushing.

Portrait of Maru

Portrait of Maru

All in all I’m delighted with Maru and can’t wait to take more photos of her in some different outfits.

All the Maru and Friends dolls are available in the US from the official Maru and Friends website, they also do international shipping (see webpage for contact details) or you can order direct from Un Bonheur de Colibri in Belgium, postage is very reasonable from the latter.

A Girl for All Time – Clementine

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I just read some great news – the fab people behind the award-winning A Girl for All Time dolls, a range of historical dolls based on the family tree of the imagined Marchmont family, have revealed the third doll in the series.

Clementine is from the 1940s and as with the other dolls will have era-specific clothing and a storybook (to buy separately) about her everyday life, based on real historical data. I love her sweet face:

Clementine will be available to buy from September 2013 and I’m sure will be as popular and successfull as the previous two dolls in the range, which are Matilda, a Tudor girl and Amelia, from the Victorian era. Matilda’s dress, evening wear, cloak and nightdress are all beautifully made and sure to delight any little girl (or adult collector, I’m greatly enamoured of this doll!).

Amelia’s clothes are equally enticing, and historically accurate down to even the underwear. She also has her own tea-set made of porcelain which is going straight on my wishlist, methinks.

All dolls are 16″ tall and fairly slender, so likely can’t easily share clothes with the 18″ ranges, but the costumes and detail on the official clothes are what help makes these creations truly special, in my view.

Find out more about the dolls at the official website, A Girl for All Time, where you can also buy everything to do with them.

All images copyright A Girl for All time