Archive for the ‘Other Business’ Category

Last Xmas Posting & New Website Offers.

Tuesday, 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!

Sunday, 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.

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

Tuesday, 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.


The benefits of toy wooden food play.

Monday, 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?

Sunday, 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.

Friday, 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.

Bloggers just love Djeco!

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

Recently, we invited some parent bloggers to try out some of our favourite Djeco craft kits and toys. Djeco is a premium toy, with every kit simply bursting with value, good quality materials and ideas that really do expand a child’s experience of crafting. Djeco very quickly became the craft kit of choice in this house and we get lots of positive comments from customers, who come back to try the regular infusion of new sets and ideas this wonderful French company produce.

Djeco Sand Art

To celebrate their lovely blogging efforts, I’m giving away a £30 Djeco voucher on my blog. Leave a comment to enter. Competition is open in the UK and closes at midnight on 30th March 2012

We sent some gel pens to the Wondering Wanderers, who have given up suburban life to go travelling in their trusty camper and are now moving to the isle of Rum to begin life on a croft (which doesn’t yet actually have a house, road, basic supplies… Erm…. What can I say, she’s a great friend of mine and no doubt going to do just fine!) the gel pens are a fantastic art supply as they take up very little space and Dragon and Star had a wonderful time with them.

Over at Home School of Excellence, two older girls tried out the Djeco Fashion Design Kit. Again this got very popular reviews; the blog post gives you a very clear idea of the contents and scope of the kit and they felt it topped other similar kits they had tried in the past from other brands.

The Madhouse Family Reviews site is well known for honest assessments of products and has a wide range of in house testers to try them out on (admittedly that’s a bit rich coming from a family who have had six children, but still!) the adored the Sand Art kit we sent them and gave it 4/5 (it would have been 5/5 were it not for fiddle to open pots, something you might count as an advantage if little hands in your house like to spill things!)

Dear little Ernest tried out the Djeco Topanimo cubes and really loved them over at LazySeamstress. These stacking cubes have a special place in my heart already and having seen how Ernest loves them, I will be getting some for our new baby Ben shortly.

Two soft clay picture kits were very popular over at SeasiderintheCity. This light clay is used to make pictures on to coloured boards and is incredibly light and tactile to use. It was clearly a big success over there and I think Djeco has scored itself some new fans in that household!

Some bloggers tried out some of the toys, games and jigsaws that Djeco also have on offer. At AtLeastDaddyCanCook the played with the Ludo and Co games set and showed that a compendium of games is still a winner and that traditional board games are still a hit with small children. Down with Mario, is all we can say ;) (Actually, that isn’t true here, Mario is much loved… but I can dream!)

Another traditional favourite, the Djeco Tropical Fishing game was a birthday delight at NeverFoundthePlottoo trumping other presents for most played with thing of the day. I know fishing games were my favourite when I was little and I adore the artwork of this one, so I’m not surprised.

We sent some Djeco Jigsaws to GreenMumsBlog for them to try out and I was pleased to see that the things that appealed to me when I put these into our toy catalogue also appealed here. Gorgeous designs, the beautiful shaped boxes and their robust piece strength all got the thumbs up from her testers.

Lastly, much delight was had with the Dragonfly beads we sent over to PrestonPrecious. As with many of the other reviewers, they particularly seemed to like the robust strength, gorgeous designs and play value of the toys.


The John Crane range expands! 15% off this exciting range of unique and engaging toys in September.

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

The John Crane range at PlayMerrily has always been held in high regard. The quality and uniqueness of the toys and games have always received positive feedback, so we have been delighted to expand the brand and include  GoGo, Pintoy, Branching Out and Tidlo.

Pintoy Medieval Castle With Mound

Pintoy Medieval Castle With Mound

The fantastic 15% off this month is a great opportunity to invest in a future Christmas or birthday present. This amazing wooden castle from the Pintoy range is the absolute ultimate in castle play, including a mound for elevating the castle and providing a dark and exciting dungeon.

Pintoy Classic Wooden Sink & Stove

Pintoy Classic Wooden Sink & Stove

If medieval fortresses aren’t for you, the wooden kitchen range just might be. From realistic dishwashers (don’t you just love that sliding plate stacker!) to classic all in one utility islands. Although my absolute favourite has to be the retro chic Tidlo red kitchen station with it’s cute silver and white tile splashback detail and towel rail.

Pintoy Doll's Bunk Beds

Pintoy Doll's Bunk Beds

The Pintoy range includes wooden dolls furniture and accessories that have been designed to be as realistic as possible. This pretty wooden dolls bunk bed even separates into 2 single doll beds. For your emergency vehicle enthusiast the Pintoy Fire Engine or Fire Station are sure to impress. The fire engine has extending and rotating ladders, hoses and removable roof and the fire station comes with all the accessories your little firefighter will need for emergency role play.

Pintoy Fire Engine

Pintoy Fire Engine

The GoGo wooden toy range is one of the most exciting educational ranges I have seen. The wonderful Happy Birds sequencing toy is a perfect example of this. The classic educational sequencing and matching concept is combined with quirky little bird characters to be built up using a little perching branch and magnetic wings, head and tail.

Florist Sequencing Educational Toy

Florist Sequencing Educational Toy

The great theme that occurs throughout the John Crane range of toys is the educational value disguised through play. The High Tea Shape matching cake stand from the Tidlo range is a fantastic example of this. The attention to detail on the little cakes and the doily patterning on the cake stand will delight any little hostess and the numbers on the base of the cakes and cake stand encourage matching and sorting.

High Tea Shape Matching Cake Stand

High Tea Shape Matching Cake Stand

Xmas Opening Times & Christmas Hama Bead Patterns

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

We’d like to wish our customers a very Happy Christmas and New Year. Thank you for all your support in 2010.

As a family run business, we have important matters of Santa and board games to attend to over the next few days and will be closed for business from 24th-29th December in order to take time with our 4 daughters. Our staff will return to work from 9.30am-12.30 on the 29th, 30th & 31st December and will answer phone calls, emails, pack any orders placed during the festive period and assist with any issues regarding missing parcels or broken items. We open again for business as normal on the 4th January 2011.

We’d like to say a particular thank you to customers who supported our SCBU charity fund this year in memory of our son, Freddie, who was born and died in April this year. This Christmas, £283 was raised and that has been an enormous comfort to us in the run up to this first Christmas without him.

Thank you.

We’ve added some free Hama Bead Patterns with a Christmas theme to our BeadMerrily blog. We hope you like them :)

Introducing our Review Club

Saturday, September 4th, 2010

One of the best ways of getting the product you need is to read what other people say about it and we love it when our customers add their thoughts to our sites.

One recent review which has been massively appreciated by other purchasers is this one for the Shape Matching Board by BigJigs, a popular toy with loads of play value and a very pleasing educational benefit too.

Shape Matching Board

Shape Matching Board

We’re launching a Review Club on all of our websites. Add a unique and individual review* to a product, using your name so we can see who it was from and once a month we’ll pick out the very best of the reviews and send the lucky winner(s) a free product. The product will be theirs to keep and all we ask is you write us a review of it.

Simple – but you’ve got to be in it to win it!

*We reserve the right to remove reviews if they are copied from other websites, duplicated or not relevant to our customers.

Bad Behavior has blocked 175 access attempts in the last 7 days.