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Thursday, 4 August 2011

Animal Farm - ELC Review

This toy review is long over due but that’s because we only got it out of the box last weekend.

We had spent the day at Mudchute Farm on the Isle of Dogs, unknown to us, there were major road closures due to the Triathlon; so a 30 minute car journey ended close to 2 hours!

Luckily we were in my new (second hand) motor so we had air con. But I was sat in the back jammed between 2 car seats which was very uncomfortable. My new car is a super silver Micra – it’s practically the same car I passed my driving test in years ago. Only two previous owners, last one being a pensioner who never drove it much. It’s a lovely present from D and I am soooooooooo happy about it. In the short space of time since I have owned it, I have managed to get Hello Kitty car seat covers and have added a few HK dolls for decoration, HK air freshener, HK tissue box cover – you get the picture. On Ebay I have discovered you can even get stickers to decorate the outside of your car to fully customise it. Childish? Yes! But its so cute and although its not a Nissan Figaro. It’s a bonus we can squash the whole family in for short journeys before we *takes deep breath* get a mummy wagon. I was inspired after seeing a car pakred near where I live that was a real homage to Hello Kitty. The whole back seat was stuffed with HK dolls, cushions and she had furry seat covers. The windows were plastered with stickers and I was very impressed at the level of attention to details. Wheel covers!?!?! Loved it. I tried to take a photo to twitpic it but the owner turned up and drove it away.

Anyway back to the farm visit. It was hellish! I mean the twins wanted to get loose and Curly Haired Beauty decided to regress and wanted to sit in the push chair. Trying to control 3 kids in open space is very demanding with only 2 adults – you are out numbered. The Mudchute Kitchen offered some light relief. A great little café on site; if it wasn’t for the swarms of flies that plagued it. I am surprised we didn’t get dysentery from eating in there. The little ones were happy with the sausage and baked beans. I had the vegetarian breakfast option without eggs and D had leek and potato soup (a hot sunny day and he picks soup – so Northern). D nipped into the gift shop and bought a few toy snakes, sticker books and some mini plastic animals. Mr Fashion had great fun getting his goat to trample up and down my granary toast. The Foley Artist gave a running commentary of the animal noises; his horse neighing is soooo sweet.  

When we eventually got home – another 2 hour journey - damn that Triathlon . To entertain the hot and bothered kids, I unpacked the ELC Cobblestone Farm Play set and D and I assembled it together. All the bits for the farm house slotted it really quickly but the hardest part was taking out the animals from its packaging. So many bits of wires to keep them in place. But at last they were all freed and amazingly all 3 children played with it at the same time - TOGETHER. Very rare in this household. The little details on the farm are so lovely and charming; ivy, hollyhock flowers growing around the doorway, even a dandelion flower or two, buttercups in the grass and a hosta plant (get me and my green fingers). There is a little swallows nest near the roof (well I can’t think what other birds nest it could be, I am a city girl after all). I am very impressed how solid the whole set feels. The roof parts lift up so you can place the animals inside to keep them nice and safe.



An hour later Mr Fashion managed to disassemble the farm and he was keen to construct it from scratch himself (cue much screeching from Curly Haired Beauty). He even got his DIY kit out to bash at the roof with his hammer. So that night when all had gone to bed I glued all the sides of the house and stables. I got finger cramp from the amount of glue I used (I may have went a little overboard) and although it looked terrible, once it had dried clear the farm was brilliant again. Big pat on my back for being so ‘crafty’ with glue!

We’ve had the farm set up for nearly a week and although it does pack away, its so much easier just to shove it to one side in the evenings. We have managed to lose the chickens but the horse, donkey and cow are the main animals the kids love to play with. An engaging game the twins invented is to stick the horse or donkey's head through the window and shout 'help, help' and I say back 'rescue me, rescue me'. 

Items were kindly sent by ELC – I thank you. My review is an honest opinion and no income was received for the review. 

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