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Beth – Design a Friend My Little Sister Bridesmaid

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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.

Kira – Madame Alexander

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Portrait of Kira

Autumn – seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness according to the poets, and the inspiration for this Madame Alexander doll, named Autumn Mist. Well, I call her Kira but that’s the official name, and you can blame Dolls Diaries for a round-up post on Fall fashion (“Fall Mist” doesn’t have quite the same ring, somehow..) where I first spotted the doll and rather impulse bought her, there and then direct from the US with the power of Amazon, ooh!

I’ve considered the Madame Alexander dolls before now, at least the African American ones, I’m not too keen on the face moulds and general look of many of the other dolls in the range but have exercised some willpower til I spotted her pretty face and rather fabulous outfit, and about 10 days later, here she was on this side of the Pond. There should at this point be proper unboxing photos but due to a slight camera mishap, said images got deleted. The plastic fronted box was the usual type with twist ties holding her firmly in place, and my fave feature of a hair net to keep her hair tidy during transport.

Madame Alexander is a traditional US doll brand that has been going for many decades, though the current incarnations were apparently bought by long-term licensee Kahn Lucas in 2012. This doll is one of the Favorite Friends range which features numerous 18″ dolls, clothes and accesories, with the range updated frequently.

Kira Posing

Here’s Kira in her seasonal outfit, consisting of a green jersey top and denim skirt, worn over green and grey striped leggings. The best part is the long hooded cardigan in some kind of knitted fabric in those wonderful shades of green and yellow, very reminiscent of a pile of newly fallen leaves. She has gold Mary Jane shoes to complete the look. The clothes are good quality and fit well, unusual styles which I do like muchly.

Kira herself is a soft bodied doll with jointed vinyl arms and legs and a posable head, which can tilt up and down as well as from side to side. Unlike the American Girl range, she has a chest plate, which avoids seeing her fabric body when wearing strappy tops, this seems to give the doll more stability without needing to be well stuffed so she is quite cuddly and stands securely on her own.

Kira's sleep eyes

Kira’s coffee-toned skin is set off nicely by her brown glass eyes, which are the sleep kind, i.e. they close when she lies down. Um, they actually rattle a bit when the doll is being carried around which is a little off-putting. She has lovely  long dark lashes and painted brows.

Kira's hair

The doll has quite unusal hair, meant to be dreadlocks I think, as they are tighter and coarser than ringlets. I like the look and style of her hair, though it took me a little time to warm to the central pulled-back section;  its not very shiny but is thick and well-rooted, of the kind that can only be finger curled however, I dread to think what the results of a brush would be.

She’s mid-range in terms of price and quality I would say, and even with shipping from the US was reasonably priced. As a soft bodied doll she’s closest to The Dolls House and Design a Friend dolls, as you can see below:

Bree with Kira
If you look closely you can see the difference the chest plate makes between the dolls, Bree’s fabric body is clearly seen under her cotton frock whereas Kira’s vinyl neck area looks more natural.

Lindy and Kira

Lindy from Design a Friend is the closest in looks to Kira, with similar colouring, though her hair is softer and falls in tight curls rather than dreads. And of course Lindy has quite a floppy body and can’t stand up without support (she also as thinner legs and her eyes are fixed).

For an impulse buy I’m very pleased with Kira, not sure I’d add any others of the Favorite Friends range as its this doll’s rather unusual features and outfit that drew me in, but design and quality wise I can recommend the brand,

Kira in b&w

 

Josh – Design a Friend

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Portrait of Josh

Meet Josh, the first boy doll to be added to the Chad Valley Design a Friend range from Argos.  According to the blurb in his box:

“DesignaFriend Boyfriend has been specially created to complement your stylish Designafriend doll. This very cool and trendy guy makes your two friends the perfect pair.”

Design a Friend boy box in blue

He comes in a blue cardboard box, which is quite classy and means any boys wanting a doll won’t have to worry about pink packaging.

Josh box opened

Josh box opened, close-up

And here’s Josh half unwrapped from his tissue paper, and a close-up of him still in the box.

Josh Posing

Josh arrives wearing a blue and yellow plaid cotton shirt, jeans and brown boots, he also comes with a more masculine bracelet with cord instead of chain for the owner to wear. He has brown plastic eyes, and brown wavy hair which needs a bit of ruffling to look modern and “trendy” instead of something in 1950s stylee (thinking cardi and pipe not Rebel Without A Cause here..)

Josh showing his well-defined chest

The most surprising thing on removing him from the box for the first time was that unlike the Design a Friend girl dolls, which are soft bodied with vinyl arms and legs, he is all-vinyl. To begin with I wasn’t sure about this change, but then I half-undressed him and he’s got a decent set of abs on him for sure! Not sure whether the target audience is going to care about defined muscles but he stands up tall and firm where the soft-body dolls do not. He’s less posable however, his arms quite stiff because of this build factor.

Josh unclothed

It took a couple of days for me to be sure I actually liked this doll, his face is more mature than the other boy dolls I have and his outfit isn’t the best quality compared to the usual Design a Friend clothing. I did suspect part of the problem was the outfit so I re-dressed him and wow, what a difference.

Josh dressed smartly

Here he’s wearing rather formal trousers from Nellie Rose, over a Kidz n Cats shirt and an olive military jacket I just got from mydollboutique with boots from Nellie Rose and it adds a whole new dimension to this doll. He looks more sophisticated and certainly more expensive – and though I’ve kept the name Josh for him he looks rather posh to my eyes (mater wanted to name him Tarquin, don’t you know…). The outfit actually costs more than the doll so its not surprising it makes a difference, mind.

Josh and Lindy

As for being the perfect boyfriend, here he is posing with Lindy, from the Design a Friend range and they look ok together, but he and Bree are a match made in heaven, I reckon.

Josh and Bree

I can definitely recommend the Design a Friend “ideal boyfriend” but would suggest a wardrobe upgrade to make the most of him.  I’m constantly impressed with this range, and look forward to seeing what else they come up with to expand the “lives” of the dolls.

Lindy’s outfit: long-sleeved t-shirt from The Dolls House, twill shorts from My Doll Best Friend, shoes & tights by Frilly Lily.

Bree’s outfit: lacy tee and shorts outfit from The Dolls House.