3 for 2 Offer on Hama Beads at CraftMerrily.

January 9th, 2016

We have a fabulous offer on Midi Hama Beads 1000 Bead Bags and individual Midi Pegboards through January – buy 3 and the cheapest one will be free! You can buy as many multiples of 3 as you like and make a fabulous saving, stocking up on new pegboards and beads for the long raining winter months.

We are running this offer on CraftMerrily (not PlayMerrily) as that stocks our full Hama Bead range and indeed (we think) the widest range of Hama Bead items in the UK. Discount will be applied at checkout, so do go and take advantage now!

While you are there, do take a look at the clearance section where we are selling off old lines to make way for new at anything up to 50% off!

Last Xmas Posting & New Website Offers.

December 15th, 2015

We will be posting out until 11am on 23rd December and then will be closed until 30th December due to painting works at our building. Orders placed between these dates will be processed and posted on 30th December. Next Day DPD and large/heavy orders will not available until 4th January 2016.

You might like our 3 for 2 offer on Hama Beads over at CraftMerrily or our 15% on orders of 3 items totalling £40 or more on Rubens Barn on the newly redesigned JollyDollies. There is also 10% off all Corolle dolls.

Thank you so very much for supporting our business this year.

Best wishes,

Merry, Max & Eve.

Welcome back, Rubens Baby!

June 30th, 2013

After a short absence, we are delighted to welcome our favourite soft baby doll on to the shelves of the PlayMerrily Shop. We’ve loved these gorgeous dolls since we first set eyes on them and the baby range is probably the strongest range within the brand. We have 3 just in our house and they get the most play, even from our 8 and 11 year olds, of all the dolls in the house.

Rubens Barn are a wonderful armful of baby and have several features that are unusual in a fabric doll. They have a mouth with a soft little tongue you can poke out, are anatomically correct and even (sigh…. can you tell I speak from experience?) can be made to poo with the judicial adding of something the appropriate size, colour and shape to their bottom. I have lovely daughters ;)

This year Rubens Barn have brought out some fantastic new accessories which add bags of play value to these lovely dolls. The 4 in 1 carrycot/sling is just wonderful and is definitely going to be on someone’s birthday list here.

It’s beautifully made and as you can see, thoroughly versatile!

In addition to the carrier, these are some fabulous new outfits; my personal favourite being the green dolls pyjama set

A perfect sleepsuit that will fit most 45cmish cuddly dolls.

Finish off with the lovely new feeding set and the changing kit for bags of play time fun with a dolly I guarantee you will never regret buying.

(Unless they make you broody… they might. I’m not responsible for that).

If you are ready to move on from the baby dolls, take a look at the new Rubens Kids. A smaller and great value version of the Little Rubens with masses of personality. We know you will love them.

Time to get Spooooooooky!

October 18th, 2012

The leaves are orange and gold and the weather has turned, school is back in and it can only mean one thing….Halloween and Bonfire night are just around the corner.  Aside from a fantastic excuse for children to get some imaginative dressing up in and munch lots of sweets and chocolate (as if they, or I for that matter, need an excuse!) , it’s also a pretty good time to enjoy some  good ol’ crafting. With a half term approaching, we have a lovely selection of Halloween and Remember, Remember inspired toys and crafts to fill the days.

Budkins Gwen the Witch

Djeco craft kits are among the most fantastically unique and imaginative, so it’s of no surprise that they have some super kits inspired by this season.  The kits I have been most impressed by are the Djeco stitching cards. Far from being simple lacing card type kits, they combine simple stitching techniques with quality threads, sequins and sturdy card to give satisfyingly gorgeous textile art end results.  The Witches Stitching Cards kit is a great example of this.

Djeco Witches Stitching Art Kit

For a fireworks fiesta you need look no further than the Djeco Chalk Markers City Lights Kit or just the Chalk Markers themselves for those who prefer to work without a template. These unique markers can be used again and again on the background paper, which can be wiped clean. Vibrant bright colours on a black background are perfect for those firework night pictures.

For those who enjoy some quiet Hama-time, there is the incredibly popular Midi Hama Glow in the Dark kit and also the wonderful Midi Hama Beads Small Gift Box – 3D Spooky for some fantastic 3D ghosts and ghouls to put beside your pumpkin.

Midi Hama Beads Small Gift Box - 3D Spooky

For a less messy pumpkin craft, pop over to Craft Merrily for some of the Tulip pens in glow. Use these pens to create an intricate and unusual design on the outside of the pumpkin and avoid the gunky mess (and foul burning smell!) of a traditional carved pumpkin. The Sculpey Glow in the Dark kit is another great alternative for Halloween decorating.

Budkins - Bones the Skeleton

The lovable Le Toy Van Budkins have their own spooky range of characters from crafty Gwen the Witch to Dracula to Bones the Skeleton. Turn your Dolls House into a spooky haunted house with the help of these wooden figures.

Baby Stella fans will be pleased to know that we have a new outfit for Baby Stella so that she can join in on the trick or treating fun. The Baby Stella Dress Up Kitty Outfit is purrrrfect for turning Baby Stella into a witches cat.

 

 

 

 

 

Who would live in a house like this?

July 19th, 2012
One of the most commonly asked questions we hear at PlayMerrily is the sizing of the different dolls house furniture. From BigJigs modern ‘whole house in a box’ furniture set to the more intricate and detailed Le Toy Van Daisylane range there is plenty to choose from to make your doll’s house a home.

Le Toy Van Daisylane Dolls House Furniture

Le Toy Van Daisylane Kitchen

Le Toy Van Daisylane Kitchen

 

The Daisylane range from Le Toy Van are sold as individual room sets. This is a massively popular range. The sets include smaller accessories and fabric detailing. The furniture style is more traditional, country cottage looking, with pastel hue colours.
 

 

Le Toy Van Sugarplum Dolls House Furniture

Le Toy Van Sugarplum Kitchen

Le Toy Van Sugarplum Kitchen

 

This range is ideal for smaller dolls houses or for starter sets, as it has the detailing of the Daisylane, but with fewer individual furniture pieces. The colour range is brighter than the pastel hues of the Daisylane sets , with more minimalist styling in the furniture pieces.

 
 

Selecta Dolls House Furniture

Selecta Dolls House Furniture Kitchen

Selecta Dolls House Furniture Kitchen

 

The selection of dolls house furniture and accessory sets from Selecta really fill a gap for ‘everyday life’ sets that are lacking in some of the others. (The Housework Set  is much more fun than real life!)

 
 

 

 

BigJigs Dolls House Furniture

BigJigs Dolls House Furniture

BigJigs Dolls House Furniture

 

A fantastic value set that includes all the main furniture pieces so that you can furnish your whole dolls house. All natural wood finish with coloured accents for each room.  This set contains the furniture only.

 

 

 

 

All theses wooden furniture sets are sized very similarly.  The sink unit in each set measured around 12cm wide and 9cm tall, so all furniture sets would be compatible in any of the dolls houses. Therefore any of the dolls house families or Budkins characters would fit with the furniture to bring your dolls’ house to life.

Throughout July we have a 15% discount on all Le Toy Van, including the Dolls Houses and furniture, so it’s a great opportunity to get that extra special birthday gift that will last a lifetime, or even (dare I mention it?!) be super prepared for  Christmas!

Roll up, roll up, get your market stands here……..

July 17th, 2012

With the arrival of the rather lovely Le Toy Van Honeybee market stall we realised that making a choice between the fantastic BigJigs market stall and the all the food crates and market stand related accessories might get a bit difficult.

Le Toy Van Honeybee Market Stall

Le Toy Van Honeybee Market Stall

So, we have compiled a little ‘compare and contrast’ to try to help the decision making process along.

Both these wooden market stands are table top play styles. The BigJigs market stand is 52cm wide by 52cm tall whereas the Le Toy Van Honeybee stall is taller at 64cm but narrower at 40cm. The Le Toy Van stall has a pale blue finish with a red and white stripe canopy and comes with a canvas shopping bag and a crate with wooden apples and pears. The Le Toy Van stall can hold up to 6 Le Toy Van market crates on the 2 shelves snuggly. It can also hold 6 Big Jigs crates from the Healthy eating set of 4 crates set or 6 Melissa & Doug food groups crates on the 2 shelves. The Le Toy Van crates are sold individually and come lined with adorable ‘Le Toy Van News’ paper.  These crates include items not found in the other crates, such as the bunch of blooms flower crate.

Honeybee Market Stand

Le Toy Van Honeybee Market Stand

The BigJigs market stand has a natural wood finish with the requisite red and white stripe canopy. It comes with 2 empty wooden crates which you could fill with groceries. The Bigjigs healthy eating food crates fit on the BigJigs market shelves, 3 to a shelf with room to spare if they were arranged narrow end forward, as in the image.  You could also mix and match as the Le Toy Van crates will fit 3 to a shelf with space in between and the Melissa & Doug Food Groups crates fit 4 to a shelf snuggly. The extra space on the shelves is great for items such as the BigJigs wooden milk bottles in a crate or a boxed cake or gateau or you could arrange the crates so that the wider side faced forward and another crate could be stacked behind it. The shelves on the BigJigs market stand are deeper, allowing for more variety in your little market traders produce presentation.

BigJigs Wooden Market Stand

BigJigs Wooden Market Stand

Some fantastic market accessories are the Le Toy Van Honeybake weighing scales or the BigJigs wooden scales for weighing out customers fruit and veg, the Haba Net Shopping bag, or the BigJigs collapsible shopping basket  in a range of colours, just perfectly sized for little hands to carry home their purchases and the BigJigs wooden cash register for essential money role play.

Haba Play Food Net Shopping Bag

Haba Play Food Net Shopping Bag

Le Toy Van Honeybake Weighing Scales

Le Toy Van Honeybake Weighing Scales

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Market stand or shop role play are fantastic ways to introduce your child to money, weights, food and imaginative conversation. These beautiful markets stands are the perfect backdrop to hours of versatile, imaginative play in a home or school setting.

 

Best of British!

May 31st, 2012

With red, white and blue bunting proudly hanging from homes, street parties planned in towns and villages across the nation and a summer of hosting the Olympics in our capital to look forward to, it is a great time to celebrate all things that that are quintessentially British.

So, to join in with the Jubilee spirit here at PlayMerrily, we have pinned up our virtual bunting, donned our inflatable crowns and put together a little collection of our favourite British inspired toys for your enjoyment.

Le Toy Van have long provided us with fantastic wooden toys but the London Bus with driver has been massively popular and what could be more iconic than a big red Double Decker bus? For younger ones the BigJigs London Bus Shape Sorter is a lovely option with 20 wooden animals to hop aboard the sturdy wooden bus.

BigJigs London Bus Shape Sorter

To upgrade your dolls house simply add James the Royal Guard and Sentry Box for an instant Buckingham Palace! Will the Queen leave her residence and give a regal wave to the sightseers? With the Budkins Heart of London Gift Pack you will have all the characters you need for a Royal Jubilee Celebration. Although, I actually think Mrs Davis, the teacher is a better candidate for HRH than Queen Alice, or is that treason?!

Royal Guard & Sentry Box

For London sightseeing tours you can always hop aboard the train and visit the major sights with the John Crane City of London Train Set or there are plenty of London Vehicles to travel in.

City of London Train Set

For an easier way to see the sights you could always use Alphabet Jigsaws lovely London Skyline Wooden Jigsaw, a fantastic chunky wooden jigsaw for younger ones to enjoy the major sites of the capital city.

Big Bus Floor Puzzle

 

 

For an Olympic Games theme in your own home, try Orchard Toys The Animal Games Jigsaw or Bus Stop Game for when the typical British summer downpour strikes.

 

 

 

Djeco My Picnic Hamper & Accessories

Of course, come rain or shine, we Brits love a picnic and Djeco’s Toy Picnic Hamper or the John Crane picnic tea set are lovely role play toys to enact such an event with eager dollies. And what could be more British than a lovely cup of tea? Perhaps even with a crumpet and cake on the side? Delightfully provided by Bigjigs wooden play food range, choose from Tea for Two or Tea Time Treats or skip straight to the cakes for high tea with lovely cake stands ranging from pink and pretty to Honeybake 3 tiered to classic and simple

 

Honeybake 3 Tier Cake Stand

I think we even have reason to sneak in our new little collection of Holztiger wooden animal figures, especially the lovely Bluetit, Hedgehog and the adorable fawn who all epitomise the English countryside.

Holztiger Fawn

Whatever your plans, enjoy the Bank Holiday Weekend!

The benefits of toy wooden food play.

May 7th, 2012

With four children who have been busy strewing our home with toys for 14 years now, we think we are pretty good at knowing what toys work for kids. One type of toy that ours have come back to time and again over the years is our wooden toy food. The opportunities for imaginative play with it are huge – restaurants, home corner play, cooking, picnics, making nurseries for their dolls, shops, cafes… you name it, my lounge has been host to it. Over the years it’s undoubtedly the basket of toys that has spent the most time being mixed in with other toys too. The dolls certainly spend a lot of time eating very well indeed but it works beautifully when turned into stew with wooden maths blocks, added to building blocks to make Faraway Tree style lands, used with plasticine to make cakes that can be cut along side the toy ones or served up as part of our home educating life when we need to do some work on healthy eating and food groups. I’ve even used to to model for still life drawing on occasion.

A year ago our youngest daughter was a very lucky girl indeed when she got a wooden play shop for her birthday. Shop play is brilliant for kids, especially if you take the plunge and add some real money into the game. Nothing teaches quite like doing and endless hours of totting up costs and change, drawing up price tickets and restocking the shelves did wonders for her maths and her writing. It sits next to a matching wooden cooker which gives her loads of opportunity to mix and match games so they involve cooking and food play with money and writing games.

Recently we ran a competition over on our blog to give one lucky winner a picnic full of wooden play food from BigJigs. I adore the BigJigs stuff – not only is it excellent value and good quality but it has real diversity. There are meals, there is healthy food, often made so it can be cut and sliced and there is the all too essential cakes and biscuits too. There are no calories in wooden biscuits so I am quite happy to have those served up to me! Given the competition had over 100 entries, I’m fairly sure I’m not the only one to like these types of products for my children!

I’m really proud of the diverse selection of wooden toy food we have on PlayMerrily and love that we dip into different brands, materials and prices ranges too. I especially love the soft fabric play food from Haba, which really ticks a box from me. It’s incredibly delicately stitched, making it seem like a craft product in many way, with lovely colours and some really novel ideas too.

I know I ought to be liking salad… but you know, these just really appeal!

With the weather set to be wet for sometime, you could probably do worse than planning for some carpet picnics. If you need an incentive, Haba and BigJigs have a full 15% off in May across the entire range. If you’d like to join us for our next giveaway, do follow us on FaceBook and/or Twitter.

What do you think of Manhattan Toy?

April 15th, 2012

This was the question we asked some lucky bloggers recently, sending them some toys to try out from the lovely range on offer from Manhattan Toy. Manhattan have an amazing portfolio  which includes Baby Stella, Boysterous Boys and a variety of developmental toys including Whoozit and Wimmer Ferguson.

The first review in was of lovely Nursing Nina from Mamacrow. I adored this review and you absolutely have to read it just for the fun of seeing the ‘extreme cat breastfeeding’ picture. I laughed and laughed!

This review from Susan K Mann got lots of attention on Twitter. These lovely sporty boy dolls deserve to do well because they really are a lot of fun. Take a look at her blog to see the shot of one of the boys out for a life size bike ride!

Little Sam tried out a Boyterous Boys set as well as a wooden toy tool kit from the Parents range at Manhattan Toy. Both things went down really well with him and his mum; I love the look of concentration from this little chap!

Boysterous Boys and Toolkit review from Mrs McGregor makes a great read and another ToolKit review from Madhouse Family Reviews awards it a whopping 4.5/5 which is pretty good because they are a very discerning family! They loved the quality and realism of the kit and how much scope it offered for free play. I loved that it ended up doubling as a medical kit! (The mind boggles!)

Baby Stella reviews from HollyBobb and StressyMummy both summed up what I already know about Baby Stella, who has been a firm favourite with our now 7 year old daughter for 5 years or so. Both recipients fell totally in love with their new ‘babies’ and the mums were impressed with the quality and the range of accessories available. She really is a very popular doll indeed.

Automoblox reviews came from 2 Stars and a Swirl and Mummy Mummy Mum. These are incredibly innovative and collectible wooden toy cars and in one house plenty of mix it up games got played while in another it was all about taking it apart!

The Finger Puppet review from Here Come the Girls made me smile. I love the theatre they built (instructions for how to on their blog too) and thought the mini-vlog they did to show off a performance was brilliant. I have signed the preservation petition for the theatre as word on the street is it is due to be rationalised to make was for a car park!

A Fabric Animal Puppet Review from Trouble Doubled and another great Chopper Chums review from AlysonsBlog focused again on the quality of these soft fabric hand puppets and the play value in toys that encourage role play and interaction from kids. The picture with the two figures above charmed me as we’ve had these little people in our home for a long, long time…. and tI’m thrilled with Alyson’s assessment of how well the puppets can work in education.

The Wimmer Ferguson Baby Toy range were reviewed at This is Life with some Orbit beads taking a test run too. We are big fans of Wimmer Ferguson in our house and can’t wait to bring some home for our new little baby boy. They fcus on black, white and primary colours, stimulating vision with simple shapes and designs and are a long standing popular product at our shop.

Finally, Words with Wine reviewed the Dress Up Pirate a cheeky chap with a pet parrot and a shiny silver sword. He’s packed full of design features to learn dresing skills but I’m not sure whether to applaud his new owner or commiserate with mum that Chops now knows how to get naked in no time! been there, done that!

Many thanks to all our reviewers. If you have a blog and would like to review toys for us, get in touch via the Facebook page  or follow us on Twitter at @playmerrily for the shop or @merrilyme for more random daily ramblings!

(Apologies to my bloggers for the round up being short and sweet; I accidentally deleted it once!)

BigJigs Toys hit the spot for families.

April 6th, 2012

One of the top wooden toy brands of the century is BigJigs Toys, lovely people who have brought together and designed a perfect range of wooden toys that cross into every possible corner of the traditional toy market. From wooden toy food to their own wooden railway system, baby toys, the signature jigsaws they were originally known for and beautiful playsets, they’ve now started to move into other toys and distribute new brands too. What I love about BigJigs is that the family behind the business is so evident and takes such care over design and decisions to bring new ranges on board. They are a brand I truly love working with and so I was delighted to have the chance to get some bloggers to review their toys too.

Anne-Marie is one of our top reviewers on our websites and regularly takes a look at new toys for us to test them out (frankly, she’s a loyal enough customer to keep our family in baked beans forever if required!) and they tried out the new BigJigs Roadway Zebra Crossing Set. They liked what they saw and hopefully Anne-Marie will use her special ‘friends’ account on PlayMerrily to add to their collection!

Over at Freckles Family a little boy with a train driver daddy sniffed out a toy parcel and got to work becoming a train man himself. He pronounced himself very satisfied with the BigJigs Figure of 8 Train Set and the photos are gorgeous – it looks like he was in heaven with his trains :)

Over at Smiling Like Sunshine there is another review of the same set. They also liked the set and, having had occasion to try out our customer service after a fault in another toy, pronounced themselves pleased with us!

I’m more than a little in love with the small boy in the special demonstration vlog over at Something Blue. He’s ready to show you just how easy it is to use the cutting fruit set which is a permanent best seller from BigJigs. Way to go small boy :) All the BigJigs wooden play food is brilliant but the cutting sets are just the best of all I think.

Being Mrs C and co took a look at the BigJigs Rail Farmyard Crossing set and train. Already a traditional toy lover and an owner of BigJigs Rail items, they loved these additions and Mrs C waxed lyrical about the thoughtful design of all the products we sent them :)

It wasn’t until I saw a Sam’s Steel Works out of the box that I really understood what a clever and sophisticated toy it is. The Cheetah Keeper describes it perfectly so pop over and hear what she has to say. This particular toy always makes me smile though and illustrates the family nature of BigJigs perfectly. I speak weekly to Sam who now deals with the day to day running of the company (and who a friend of mine knew in nappies in the days when the jigsaws were made in their garage!) and the Tom from the Timber Yard toy is his little brother – I’ve met him too!

I love the post from MummyBird about playing with the BigJigs Wooden Cash Register. There have been a lot of similar games in this house over the years and it always makes me smile to see toys being used mixed in with real money and household items. A perfect blend of pretend and reality I think and a brilliant way for children to learn!

Twinsboys and their dad fell on a BigJigs Roadway set over at Tales of a Twin Mum and devoured it whole by the look of things. Sounds like it was a huge hit and had lots of play value to keep the boys entertained. (Who had most fun I wonder!)

Bloggomy took possession of a Roadway Roundabout and had plenty of fun. It was pronounced an ideal starter set for a young man just getting into things with wheels!

We’re incredibly grateful to all our bloggers. If you have a blog and would like to review for us, join our Facebook Page or get in touch via Twitter.


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