Tuesday 15 February 2011

Strawberry Stables

Remember back to when you were a little girl and you had one secret (or may be not so secret !) wish. I bet it was either being a real-life fairytale princess or owning your own pony. And I bet you had to make do with dressing up in a princess dress and playing with a Sindy horse (or the modern equivalent, the Liv Nutmeg horse, that I reviewed here).

Well, I could hardly contain my excitement when we were sent the amazing Strawberry Stables pony set to review. I couldn't wait to watch the girls', and in particular 6-year-old Juliette's, face when they discovered it. And I made sure I kept the camera handy to share the excitement with you !

The main element of the set is the absolutely adorable pony. Her name is Fudge and she is 55cm high so she is big enough for a small child to sit on. She's soft and cuddly but amazingly solid with clunky feet that offer great stability. She has lovely long hair in her mane and tail, which can be styled with a brush and hair accessories.

I love the wide range of accessories available, which offer huge scope for creative role play. You get a brush, a nose bag, an apple and carrot, a blanket, an inflatable hay bale (which can act as a seat), a saddle, reins, rosettes, as well as a selection of hair accessories. (Please note that some of these are sold separately.) Sophie (age 9), Juliette (age 6) and Pierre (age 18 months) all had great fun playing together side-by-side with absolutely no squabbling because there were plenty of bits to go round, which is quite unusual !

Then Juliette discovered the gymkhana outfit in a separate box (sold separately) and couldn't stop grinning (with her big gap-toothed smile !) as she pulled on the shiny dressing-up clothes and hat. Again, I love the detail with the black riding boots sewn on the bottom of the trouser legs. The costume fits Juliette perfectly.

We decided to move the pony and all her gear up to the bedroom and Juliette begged me to set up the stable just before bedtime. Time to take down the Hello Kitty tent which has had pride of place in her room for the past few months then ! The stable is basically a three-sided tent, reminiscent of a wendy house, so it's easy to set up, particularly with the colour-coded joints and poles. I did find the poles to be very fragile and cheap-looking though, especially given the price of the play set, but once it's up, it does look the business, especially when Fudge pokes her head through the stable door.

Strawberry Stables is just one of the play sets in the Worlds Apart Dream Collection, which also comprises a boy-oriented Gasketts Garage and Puppy Lane Cottage. The big negative is the price, which is certainly not cheap, but the pony is of a really high quality and will last for years of full-on playing, even if the rather flimsy play tent stable does rather let it down and will surely last for a much shorter time.

The twinkle of disbelief and excitement in your children's eyes makes it a reasonable investment though, if you can afford it, and for a playgroup or creche, it would be brilliant.

star rating : 5/5

RRP : Strawberry Stable & Fudge the Pony kit £99.99, Stable Care Set (£19.99), Gymkhana Dress Up Set (£14.99)

Other reviews you may be interested in :

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