January is a time for new beginnings and there will be lots of new and exciting things happening to tell you about, but first, as the blog was abandoned while we worked tirelessly (we loved it!) like Father Christmas's elves, unpacking deliveries and shipping out shop orders from early November, here's a catch up on some of the things if you don't follow us on Facebook that you may have missed...

Mid September saw the launch of the Wunschpuppe or 'Wish Doll', a Limited Edition doll named Henriette from Kidz n Cats sculpted by Sonja Hartmann. Those of you who know about Henriette will know she was a worldwide limited edition of 300 customisable dolls intended to be available for a 3 week period cut short because she sold out in just few days. We received our dolls for customers who had ordered her in September by mid December. Henriette was definitely worth the wait. She's the fifth face mould for the Kidz n Cats brand and is simply stunning. 

In October we announced that we would be importing Maru & Friends dolls, Maru, Savannah and Jamie (photos below) from the USA and the pre-order period started straight away while we waited for the dolls to receive their European toy safety certificates for age 3+ before they could make their transatlantic journey. These dolls are sculpted by Dianna Effner and are truly beautiful. The Maru dolls sold out three times on pre-order and fortunately we were able to renegotiate stock numbers so that enough dolls could be sent when the time came. The dolls arrived in early December, two months later than scheduled but still in plenty of time for Christmas, even for our overseas customers to receive them.

Making Maru & Friends available in the UK had been one of our important 2013 goals but a brand that we knew less about was Via-E.  After some speculative enquiries we learned that in fact this completely new American brand would be toy testing for Europe at the same time as for America, which is very unusual for new and small brands due to expensive testing costs.  We jumped at the chance to bring Alexis O'Shay, to the UK shores for children age 3+ and collectors alike to enjoy the doll with the happy smile. Thanks to Diana for this photo of her Ali (in wonderful homemade pyjamas).

Alexis, known as a dollfriend with many realistic qualities, will definitely have her own feature on the blog in the coming weeks.

Would that be enough new brands in the run up to Christmas? No! We brought on board a wholly European brand, Paola Reina, whose dolls are appealing because of their beautiful eyes and light vanilla scent. It has become very desirable to buy dolls that are completely made in Europe and this brand is rightly proud of its Spanish origin, having dolls with hair, eyes and clothes all sourced from European countries. The dolls definitely fit in very well with the other brands of standing vinyl play dolls we offer and are a popular choice for children. Here's one of the beautiful Paola Reina Soy Tu dolls.

Are we finished?  Late in November Carpatina dolls became available for us to import. Carpatina, like Maru & Friends is a brand of vinyl dolls from the USA that is known for its quality workmanship. The Carpatina brand also has the most stunning clothing and accessory ranges so it was an absolute 'yes' to offering it to our customers. Carpatina dolls and clothes are currently available to collectors not children younger than age 14 as there hasn't been any European safety testing to demonstrate safety for children under this age (see below for photo of Ana Ming, a Carpatina doll- sent in by Jennifer).

Whilst we were busy stocking all these new brands one of our consistently popular brands, Kidz n Cats made by With Heart & Soul, had become quite limited in availability, with favourites like Grace and Sophie selling out in September. The brand, operating now from Germany from Sonja Hartmann's Berlin studio, was busily producing new dolls but the delivery of these dolls was a bit close for comfort to be honest. Grace arrived on 17th December but Sophie didn't arrive until Saturday 21st December (photo of Sophie below). Our customers are just the most generous spirited people and we appreciate the good natured emails we received so much. I'm happy to say that everyone received their chosen doll in time for Christmas so the whole pre- Christmas period was a huge success. We clinked our glasses... and then collapsed!

Throughout this busy time friends kept in touch with us through email and sent in photos of how they were enjoying their dolls which was a total lifeline to the creative world while we were busy packing and shipping.  

Please enjoy the photos you are about to see, these photos and the gifts mean a lot. My thanks go to Doreen, Judith, Alice, Jennifer, Joanne, Carol, Diana and Lyn and to everyone else who emails/ed me!

The first four photos are of Gotz Hannah who comes as Hannah at the Design Studio, Hannah Loves Horse Riding and Hannah at the Spa. This is Doreen's very beautiful Hannah at the Spa modelling her dresses from My Doll Best Friend.




Judith sent me the photo below. Judith is one of many doll lovers in her family of three generations of doll lovers, but the only one who can sew like this- everyone enjoys her creations! Her Kidz n Cats dolls are wearing plaid this season. Judith sent this photo with a snippet of conversation she overheard whilst passing the Kidz in her hall.  

The photo is called: 'Friends busy chatting about a new girl coming soon'. 

"I've heard her name is Henriette. Wonder what she's like. Hope she'll be my friend".
I am pretty sure that the girls are now good friends with Henriette.

When Henriette arrived here in her dozens she was immediately dispatched to all those waiting patiently for their customised doll. It would have been fabulous to be able to really look at Henriette in her 9 combinations of hair and eye colour but the priority was to send her on her way to her new homes as quickly and safely as possible. 
It was therefore a huge and unexpected pleasure to see that Alice who had been waiting for her brown eyed mid brown haired Henriette had sent me photos of her Henriette the day after she arrived. 
Here she is:


(Love the mini dolls).




Then came the wait for Kidz n Cats Sophie. Alice and I waited and waited for Sophie not knowing if she would actually make it in time for Christmas but when she arrived on Saturday the 21st we knew it would work out well. Sophie arrived at her new home on Christmas Eve and Henriette was there to welcome her new friend. Sweet photo??

Here they are: Henriette and Sophie.

In between the arrival of the Kidz n Cats Henriette and Sophie dolls came the Carpatina brand of dolls.
Ana Ming is an oriental vinyl doll and incredibly beautiful. She was very much longed for by Jennifer who sent me a photo of Ana Ming as soon as she was out of the box. I like this;  here's Ana Ming's 'selfie'! 
Just before Christmas I got a surprise delivery and a very special one too from Joanne. Joanne has a Savannah doll and about a year ago Joanne contacted me to see if we had shoes that would fit her gorgeous doll, she also sent me a photo of Savannah wearing her handmade knitwear. In this parcel were some beautiful handmade pieces of clothing to fit my new Maru & Friends, Savannah, Jamie and Maru who at only had what they had arrived in. Maru is wearing the gold dress which is the same style as Joanne's Savannah wore in the photo. (If you're admiring Maru's shoes- or Savannah's below- and wondering where you can buy them...well they're made by Carpatina and will be in the shop very soon).
Below, from left Jamie is wearing handmade knitted sparkly hat and red cardigan, Maru is in the gold dress and on the right Savannah is wearing a gorgeous sparkly black knitted skirt.

My friend Carol, who will forever be known as the Ruby Wedding Anniversary friend to those of you who read the blog, magically sent me some gorgeous presents for Christmas. The presents were as much the handmade doll sized boxes and carrier bags the gifts came in as what was inside. The Maru & Friends girls are wearing Carol's Christmas gifts of swarovski crystal jewellery and Christmas pendants on ribbon necklaces.



Here's Henriette with blue eyes and blonde hair wearing an absolutely stunning piece of jewellery made by Carol.
I managed to squeeze a birthday in too just before Christmas and Diana very thoughtfully sent me this photo for my card, which I love. On the left is Diana's Henriette with blue eyes and golden brown hair and on the right is her Gotz Franja doll (now called Franca).
Finally, we make it to Christmas Day. Lyn was looking for some accessories for a very special Sasha doll that she bought for her daughter but has since become the treasure of her granddaughter. 
Looking at the photo I think the shoes were a hit! (Love this photo).
Two very beautiful girls (below). 
Sasha can share clothes with the Schildkrot dolls. The shoes were a merchandise sample size which I had just one pair of; more will be arriving soon. Lyn has recently very kindly written an entry in the Guestbook if you want to know more about this story.
Now we've recapped and covered all the happy end of 2013 stories, it's time to start the New Year! 
Happy New Year 2014 to you all and especially to those of you who make me smile with emails and photos- thank you.