Without a doubt visiting the Nuremberg Toy Fair is the highlight of my year because it's the one opportunity to see the newest and most beautiful children's play dolls available to buy and all this with an opportunity to talk to the artists and creators of the dolls and the collections. I love dolls and they bring a lot of joy to my life so it is the most pleasurable work trip that could ever be possible! All that with the fun of a shopping spree, and the social side of an annual reunion and I'm sure you get the idea that going to the Nuremberg Toy Fair is about as good as any hobby holiday could be!

This year I was blown away by the design and quality of doll merchandise available for children - the love that goes into these products by the artists and design teams is huge. There's such a lot of passion and innovation behind each and every doll and finally the finished products are works of beauty.

The event takes place in Nuremberg in Germany each January and hotels and flights are booked a year ahead. It is known very much as the international toy fair in the which is why so many suppliers, distributors, manufacturers and buyers visit this one location on an annual basis to find products, renew contacts and develop their businesses.

I was lucky enough to meet with all the brands I retail that were present at the show and get some very detailed information and insights, as well as many photos of the dolls. I spoke to artist Sonja Hartman about her Kidz n Cats brand and saw the exquisite new dolls for the range that not only include a new face sculpt for the taller Kidz n Cats dolls but also a new collection of Mini dolls, and large new clothing and accessories range. The Kidz n Cats dolls clothes are scaled down from children's clothes patterns so dolls coats are lined and details and colours are magnificent, just as you'd expect if you were buying clothes for a child. The clothes this year are colourful and varied and the high quality of the doll materials means that it feels good value for money, which as one of the more expensive children's play doll ranges is a very important factor. Some photos of new dolls Jennet, Julika, RobertLauryn and Marina follow with more to come in a Kidz n Cats feature soon.

Kidz n Cats Julika


Kidz n Cats Lauryn
Kidz n Cats Robert 


Kidz n Cats Marina


Kidz n Cats Jennet

I had the pleasure of talking to Anke Gotz-Beyer who runs the Gotz company with her husband - the son of artist Hildegard Gunzel, and wider family. I was permitted to photograph the 2015 collection including the stunning Classic Kidz dolls designed by Hildegard Gunzel as well as the Happy Kidz, which includes new doll Katie. There is a huge range of doll accessories now available with so much emphasis on play and creativity that any child will be transported to dolly heaven - I stood in the Gotz booth and for a minute (several times) wished with all my heart that I was a child. There is fun too, lots of little fascinator hats with outfits, headbands with ears and shoes with faces!  Gotz dare to try new things out, so this year sees a large plush white unicorn with hair to comb, and a loft bed with desk and chair plus a design school range of outfits - more about that later. Here are a few images of new Happy Kidz doll Katie, the design competition winning doll (more about that another time), Classic Kidz Lena plus the gorgeous unicorn and loft bed.

Gotz Happy Kidz Katie 2015


Gotz Happy Kidz Katie 2015


Gotz Unicorn and Hannah Princess


Gotz Classic Kidz Lena 2015
Gotz Design School Happy Kidz Doll 2015


Gotz Loft Bed

I met with Sylvia Natterer who has been a long time favourite artist of mine, and learned much about her new collection and the rich tapestry of her doll career and how she now comes to work with French brand Petitcollin. Her collection includes two sizes of doll, the 34cm Minouche and 48cm Finouche. I can tell you they took my breath away, and I wasn't expecting that. At each toy fair I visit Kathe Kruse where until recently the Sylvia Natterer Minouche dolls were made, to see the Minouche and the other Kathe Kruse ranges but I leave a little sad, without being at all moved by the dolls. This time I stood in front of Sylva Natterer's dolls and felt a huge whoop of joy! It was a big 'yes!' from me which is exactly how you hope to feel about a collection or a brand when you go to a fair like Nuremberg. I'm very excited to tell you more about Sylvia Natterer as soon as I can.

Sylvia Natterer Finouche 2015 Alice Doll
Sylvia Natterer Finouche 2015 Alice Doll


Sylvia Natterer Finouche 2015 Zoe Doll


Sylvia Natterer Finouche 2015 Zoe Doll

The Paola Reina booth smelled and looked as beautiful as ever, and the new collection of lightly scented dolls - the Every Girl Dolls - adds ever more choice for parents looking for a beautiful affordable play dolls to fit into the 18" doll genre which is so popular. These dolls have armature inside their bodies so a degree of posing can be achieved. There are new Las Amigas faces like Nora below and one has closing eyes - Jasmin. The great thing about Spanish brand Paola Reina is that many of the dolls retail for under £50 yet are made larger than other dolls that cost the same - and they are made entirely in Europe. Unfortunately I don't have real photos to show you of the new dolls, but as the Paola Reina dolls never differ from their promotional images we have a very good likeness in these.

Paola Reina Las Amigas Jasmin
Paola Reina Las Amigas Nora


Paola Reina Every Girl Doll Vicky
Paola Reina Soy Tu Dolls Audrey and Emma

I met with the brother and sister team at Vestida de Azul who make their adorable little vinyl dolls in Alicante, Spain. The Paulina and Carlota dolls are so cute and made from such good quality materials that it was a pleasure to see the dolls and this year they wear new outfits. The doll clothing and accessories range has a heart warming feel good factor to it, it's all mini size and maximum quality. The retail price is good at £30-£45 for the dolls and the carbon footprint is small which makes this a very attractive brand to offer.

Vestida de Azul Paulina


Vestida de Azul Paulina Dolls


Vestida de Azul Carlota Doll

The brands will each be featured separately in the coming days and weeks with more in depth information and a lot more photographs to follow. The dolls will be added to the doll shop at My Doll Best Friend very soon, some are already available to pre-order.

It would be great to read your comments on anything you've seen here, particularly any of the new items - and hopefully the next features will answer any questions of which there are probably many!
I'm very grateful to the doll brands for letting me photograph their dolls with my very amateurish photographic skills. I think that all the brands deserve massive congratulations for the spectacular dolls they've created for us to enjoy this year and I wish them enormous success.