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My Maru and Friends doll

Paola Reina Fashion

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I’m piggybacking somewhat on a post by Maxine over at her blog for My Doll Best Friend, because she showcased some of the many gorgeous outfits made by Spanish doll company Paola Reina for the Soy Tu range of dolls, which fit other 18″ standing dolls perfectly. And I couldn’t resist at least one outfit..

Maru in a Paola Reina dress

Here’s Maru modelling the Paola Reina “lilac floral dress set” which consists of a lovely cotton dress in shades of lilac and pink, with lilac cap sleeves, a lilac ribbon trim at the hemline, and a crossover bodice detail. Tied at the waist with organza ribbon which is gathered into a rosette at the front, its worn over lilac leggings and comes with a matching hair band that ties with more lilac ribbon.

As you can see it fits very nicely and is such a great choice for the hot summer weather, lilac is one of my favourite colours for dolls clothes and it makes a change from the usual range of pink you usually see.

I’m pleased with the quality of the outfit, each piece is cut out and stitched well and the fabric is good quality. The fit on Maru is excellent, I’m sure the dress will look equally great on Katy and the others also!

I will definitely be getting more clothes from this range.

My Doll Best Friend has the lilac outfit featured, along with other Paola Reina clothing and the Soy Tu dolls range along with other sized dolls and suitable clothing for same.

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Fashion from The Dolls House

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The Dolls House Fashions - Group Shot

As I’ve mentioned previously, as well as the range of dolls, one of the best parts about The Dolls House company is the cool range of outfits available, which fit other 18″ dolls rather nicely. I treated myself to a parcel of new clothes from there the other week and couldn’t resist getting the gang dressed up and showing off their new togs.

From left to right above we see Bree, Katy, Helene, Grace, Maru and Alice, though there was some swapping of clothes later on, quite  a free for all amongst the girls in fact.

So without further ado, lets introduce the various outfits – imagine the girls have done their “little turn on the catwalk” and are just posing to show off the fashions to their best advantage..

Bree in a red silk kimono

i love this red silk kimono, the way the light shimmers off the fabric with its golden thread and other colours shot through is so effective, it comes with matching little red slippes but that was a bit too much red for me so Breee is barefoot..

Portait of Bree in a kimono

Despite the really long hair on Bree, it goes into an updo beautifully too.

Katy in a flowey top with shorts

Barefeet seems the order of the day – this lace and flowers shorts set is just so cute, and fits Katy (Gotz Hannah) extremely well.

Grace & Katy in green and denim

Grace has already shown off this lovely green dress but she didn’t want to be left out – so summery, the both of them, last chance to wear light fabrics before autumn sets in and its time to pull out the woollies.

Maru in a grey dress with leggings

This tunic is actually a dress, but Maru is so tall it was a bit too short on her, works great as a long top over leggings, though, I think this is one of my favourites, and its good to have clothes that can be versatile, with a bit of thought.

Closer look at Maru's grey top

Its the attention to detail on the outfits that really makes them, the layering on the grey ruffle dress is simple and effective and the rose details at the neck lift it and accentuate the red contrast without being over the top.

Alice in Lilac

Now this delicate lilac dress should be familar, I posted about it previously with Helene modelling, looks great on any doll, no question! And yet again a barefoot theme.

Grace whispering with Katy

“Psst!” whispers Grace, “You should change into the pretty blue dress.. go on.. ”

::Katy scampers off::

Helene modelling pyjamas with a little friend

Helene didn’t want to put her AG mini doll Julie down to show off the outfit properly – such cute white cotton pyjamas with the blue bows and gathered detail. The top is a bit big on a Kidz n Cats so I ended up putting a clip at the back to help it fit better.

Bree & Hellene

Ah, now we can see the outfit properly, plus Bree changed into the flowery top and shorts set Katy was wearing, and looks just as cute.

Closer look at Bree's flowered top

These will work really well as separates but the way the flower embroidery is repeated from the top onto the shorts is a nice touch, very fresh and cheery little outfit all told, white cotton and denim complement each other well, and the flowered sash and the pink ribbon neckline demonstrate yet again how small details can be so effective.

Katy in a satin blue party dress

Aha, that’s how Bree ended up in the shorts set, Katy changed into this gorgeous full length blue satin party dress, I love the lace and ribbon detail on this, she’s truly the belle of the ball.

Katy and Alice in their posh frocks

Actually, both Katy and Alice are the belles of the ball, beautiful colours and fabric choice on these gowns.

As should be obvious by now, all outfits are by The Dolls House, as are Bree’s white shoes with the pink bow detail.

Grace’s gold sandals are from the Argos Design a Friend range.

Maru & Friends to Make UK Debut

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Maru in orange

I adore the Maru & Friends dolls, especially Maru herself as in the post Unboxing Maru from a few months back. Up til now the dolls were only available either direct from the company in America or from the sole European distributor, Un Bonheur de Colibri in Belgium, as the dolls hadn’t gone through the EU specific toy safety standard tests required for them to be supplied to the UK and Europe.

Its just been reported by both My Doll Best Friend and Petalina that the dolls and clothing range are undergoing  testing and should be available to buy from both online shops in time for Christmas in the case of Maru, redhead Savannah and blonde Jamie, with the other dolls due in 2014.

I’m really excited to know that Diana Effner’s gorgeous little faces will be available to a wider market on this side of the Pond. I can definitely recommend the dolls in terms of appeal, design and quality.

To whet your appetite you can see the full range of dolls and outfits at the official Maru & Friends website.

When Harry Met Maru

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Maru is having her photo taken in a lovely white broderie dress to be featured on the blog, she feels so pretty:

Maru in white

“I love this dress, it makes me feel special,”she smiles

Meanwhile someone has noticed..

Harry & Jamie

“Psst, Jamie,” whispers Harry, “Who’s the girl in the white dress?”

“Oh, that’s Maru. She babysits for me and Alex sometimes.. Why?”

Harry just stares at Maru.

Maru & Harry Meet..

“Um, hi, ” stammers Harry. “I’m Harry!”

“Oh, um, nice to meet you Harry” Maru replies, thinking, ::he’s really cute, and those muscles, he looks my age too!::

Maru & Harry 2

::got to pluck up my courage:: thinks Harry.

“Um, Maru?”

“Yes?”

“I just wanted to say..”

“Yes?”

Maru & Harry 3

“I think you’re lovely!” Harry manages, and blushes

“Oh… Oh, thankyou, Harry, that’s so sweet,” says Maru

“Do you.. do you want to go out? Um, somewhere. With me, I mean?” asks Harry

Maru smiles happily, “I like that idea.”

Maru & Harry 4

The Girls, Tall to Small..

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GIven that the standard size of the play dolls I love is technically 18″, there are of course variations, which isn’t always clear when showing the dolls by themselves, and a simple height reference given in a review post doesn’t give away much. The girls obliged me by lining up in order tall to short to demonstrate the different heights of:

Karito Kids (21″), Maru & Friends (20″), Zwergnase Junior (19″), Gotz Hannah (18″) and Kidz n Cats (18″).

Girl dolls, tall to small

They are, of course, Fei Li, Maru, Jessie, Katy and Helene.

And as they’re wearing their posh frocks, it was a good chance for a wee fashion show also!

Fei Li (21")

Fei Li wearing a Gali Girls asian-style dress, and satin slippers from My Doll Best Friend.

Maru (20")

Maru wearing a white broderie dress from My Doll Best Friend, boots by Maru & Friends

Jessie (19")

Jessie wearing a white frock with purple dots available from My Doll Best Friend, shoes and tights from other sources

Katy (18")

Katy wearing another fabulous Nellie Rose creation, a traditional Austrian dress, shoes by Gotz

Helene (18")

Helene in the luscious lilac party dress from The Dolls House, shoes from My Doll Best Friend

Let’s hear it for the girls!

Girl dolls in height order

Bree – from The Dolls House

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Portrait of Bree

This little lady is Bree, as glimpsed in the mystery girl post. She’s from The Dolls House, source of the gorgeous lilac dress featured previously, and home to the nifty wig store. The brand was launched in September 2012 by Sky, a mother of three who had always dreamed of her own range of dolls and clothing. The dolls themselves are based on photographs of one of her daughters when younger, and all three daughters were involved in designing the varied wardrobe of outfits currently on offer to reflect the fashions they enjoy wearing themselves. The original line-up of seven dolls has expanded to ten in total, with a range of skin and hair colours. I especially admire the fact that each doll can be “customised” by choosing the eye colour, currently blue, green, brown or hazel – Sky tells me she is the only UK doll supplier to offer this option currently, and was most helpful when I wanted Bree to have brown eyes. Her offical name is Amber, matching her hair colour nicely.

Bree's box

I usually comment on packaging and I  must say I’m impressed by the quality here. The doll arrived in a large brown cardboard box with the company name printed in red on the side, and within was the dark pink box you see above, with a card sleeve for added protection. The pink box itself is made of very heavy duty cardboard, of the kind you find used in gift boxes and some jewellery boxes: its clearly designed to be kept and re-used, being so sturdy.

Opening The Dolls House box

Opening the box, the doll is wrapped in a layer of printed tissue paper. Also included is a “birth certificate” to fill out with the chosen name and details, printed on quality card stock, which is a nice touch.

The Dolls House birth certificate

Bree revealed

And here she is – with her eyes shut, clearly travelling is tiring.. The doll isn’t fixed in place but fits snugly enough into the box for ties to be unnecessary.

Bree's hairnet

As mentioned when unboxing Maru and Fei Li, I’m pleased to report her hair was kept tidy for transport in a hairnet, so there were no tangles to deal with. This is such a simple but effective measure, its good to see it being adopted by more doll brands.

All the dolls are 18″ tall, and are cloth-bodied with jointed vinyl arms, legs and head. The body is quite firmly stuffed, so she has no problems standing up, and poses quite well, though obviously is more limited than the dolls with more joints.

Bree's original outfit

Each doll is named after a precious stone and comes in a “meet” outfit consisting of long pink tunic with patch pockets and The Dolls House embroidered on the front, violet leggings and the cutest pink shoes with ribbon detail. This is similar to the way the basic American Girl dolls arrive, and overall body size and shape is similar also. Here she is unclothed for comparison purposes:

Bree unclothed

You may have noticed that Bree is wearing glasses in some of these images – I was umm-ing and ah-ing over the dolls on offer from The Dolls House, as I don’t normally like soft bodied dolls, but it was a pic on the accessories page showing the Amber doll wearing the black rimmed glasses that swung it for me, and I think they really make her look cute.

Bree in original outfit plus glasses

The dolls have sleep eyes, that is, the kind that close when the doll is laid flat. I think this appeals to a younger child but its a nice feature to have and the eyes and sleep feature are well-made and open and close easily. The eyes are glass/plastic with actual lashes.

Sleep eyes - Bree

Sleep eyes with glasses - Bree

The hair on these dolls is one of their main features, long, thick and wavy. The rich auburn shade of Bree’s hair is especially appealing – I have a weakness for redheads – and as well as the fringe framing her face I like the way the hair is partly pulled back into a ponytail with the rest cascading in long curls down her back. The hair is not as silky as that on some brands, but is good quality and brushes and styles well. Rather than rooted, each doll’s hair is actually a wig, but it fits very well and also allows for a different wig to be bought and applied (as per my previous post on the matter), though I wouldn’t change Bree’s hair for the world.

Bree's hair

I had a wee windfall so as well as the doll I treated myself to a whole load of the fabulous outfits The Dolls House offers – even if you don’t buy one of the dolls I really do recommend the clothing, such attractive designs and well-made also. Here she is modelling a green dress with white shoes with a purple bow:

Bree in a green dress

The clothes are cut quite snugly for the doll’s figure, and this one was a bit tricky to put on; the green sash detail is a separate length of ribbon and really brings the design together. As could be seen in the post about the lilac dress from this company which my Kidz n Cats doll Helene adored wearing, the outfits fit other 18″ dolls very well. Here’s Grace, my Gotz Hannah, wearing the same green dress as above.

Grace in a green dress

No doubt upcoming posts will feature further The Dolls House outfits but I couldn’t resist some photos of Bree in her long blue satin ballgown, with lace detail, puff sleeves and a blue ribbon sash which again lifts the design without being too fussy. Her long hair works especially well with this outfit, quite the little princess to be sure!

Bree posing in her blue gown

Overall I am impressed with the quality and design of these dolls. They’re well-made, have cute faces, a wide range of hair/skin options so a child can find one that matches if desired, and the eye-colour option is a nice touch. With the increase in 18″ dolls available in the UK, as well as the growing availability of the American Girl dolls on this side of the Pond, The Dolls House range definitely hold their own and come highly recommended, especially with the range of outfits on offer. And despite being lower in price than my German-made dolls, Bree fits in well with the other girls.

L-R: Grace (Gotz Hannah), Bree, Katy (Gotz Hannah), Kidz n Cats Ariane

L-R: Grace (Gotz Hannah), Bree, Katy (Gotz Hannah), Kidz n Cats Ariane

On the website, Sky says:

“Ever since I was a young girl, I was always passionate about dolls. I can remember pending endless hours dressing them, playing with them, brushing their hair and even having meaningful conversations with them!”
I think the dolls she created will do an admirable job of passing that love and the hours of enjoyment to a new generation.
Bree in b&w

Maru and the Boys

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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