Friday, December 24, 2021

Lottie in Manhattan

One of the fantastic things about where we live in New Jersey is that we're only about an hour away from Manhattan by train.  For most of my life, trips to the Big Apple were a rare, special occasion.  Now it's possible to go to there for a day trip...which is exactly what we did a few weeks ago!  

The day before our trip, my husband said, "you should bring a doll with you to photograph for the blog!" because that's how awesome he is.  I can't believe I didn't come up with that idea myself, but I've gotten out of some of my old habits.  I immediately started to think about what a good travel companion doll would be.

One of the reviews I'd been thinking about in the days preceding our trip was a revisit of the Lottie doll line by Arklu.  I've reviewed these dolls already, but that was back in 2013.  The company has come up with some wonderful and diverse new characters in the last few years.  I had several of the most interesting dolls queued up in my shopping cart online, but obviously there was no time to get those shipped before our trip.  So, I went to our local toy store and bought one of the dolls they had in stock.  

This doll ended up being perfect for our trip.  She's called "Walk in the Park," and we got to take her for a walk in the park: Central Park:

Walk in the Park Lottie doll by Arklu, $24.99.

Lottie's packaging has not changed at all over the years.  The dolls still come in beautifully-decorated cardboard boxes with little carrying handles on the top:

The box is decorated with scenes from a big city park.  I love the fall setting and how the sky is a mix of rich, sunset-orange tones.

There's a little window on the side of the box where you can peek in and see Lottie's accessories:

This doll comes with a dog!

The back of the box is fully-decorated, too, with a cartoon version of Lottie and her dog:

This particular doll is from 2019:

Lottie comes attached to a pale pink cardboard backdrop that slides out of the main box:

She's held in place by a few clear rubber bands that are easy to cut.  Here's Lottie with her dog:

As far as I can tell, all Lottie dolls have left-glancing eyes, so it's a bit hard to get them to look at the camera. 

The dog is molded out of hard vinyl and comes with a bright yellow elastic leash:

The leash is crudely made.  The elastic has frayed ends and ragged stitching, but I like the plastic handle:

The elastic from the leash loops around the dog's neck and has another messy connection in that area:

The dog itself is very cute, with coloring like a spaniel:

The bottoms of the dog's feet are painted brown, which is a funny little detail:

Lottie comes dressed in a fuzzy grey coat worn over jeans and red polka-dotted rain boots:

She has dark brown hair with bangs, and light brown eyes with huge pupils:

Here's a peek at her simple, small brown eyebrows:

Lottie's hair is really long, and sticks out over a bulky hood at the back of her jacket:

When I swept the hair aside, I realized that the hood has bunny ears on it!  How cute:

The hood pulls up over Lottie's head, but that pushes the hair forward:

The hood works better if all of Lottie's hair is tucked into her jacket:

The jacket has decorative plastic buttons, but the real closure is a strip of velcro:

I love this jacket!  The ears are adorable, and the whole hood is lined with fleece:

The little pockets in the front actually work, too!

The jacket is not lined on the inside.  I suspect that lining would have added too much bulk to such a tiny garment:

Underneath the jacket, Lottie is wearing an orange top with an animal face on it:

The collar of the shirt is wonky on Lottie's right side:

The whole shirt opens down the back with velcro:

There's clearly an animal face on this shirt, but I'm not sure what it's supposed to be.  A fox, maybe?  An owl with eyelashes?  Whatever the animal is, I love the colors:

The shirt looks well-constructed and is not too messy on the inside:

Lottie is wearing simple blue jeans that are cuffed at the ankle:

These pants are not impressive.  They have very simple yellow stitching around the waistline, and stitched pocket outlines on either side:

They're baggy in the back:

The choice to use contrasting thread doesn't make a lot of sense to me.  It basically highlights every single stitched flaw:

The stitched pocket on the right side of the pants is falling out:

The pocket on the left side looks fine for now, but you can see that the far side of the pocket line has a loose thread with nothing to keep it from unraveling:

I was surprised to see this kind of workmanship.  I just assume that the clothing will be well-made on a $30 doll.

A lot of the clothing is great, though.  For example, I love the red polka dot boots.  They are bright and cheerful and help Lottie stand up well on her own:

The Lottie body has not changed over the years:

The proportions are said to be average for a nine-year-old, with a slightly enlarged head so that it's easier to play with the hair.

The hair is rooted evenly, with no offensive gaps:

Even though I've reviewed these dolls before, I'll do a quick recap of the articulation for anyone who doesn't feel like jumping back to the old post.

Lottie's neck has simple rotational movement.  She can't look up or down:

Her arms are rotating hinges, so they can lift up:

And they can spin around:

Her hips also have rotating hinges, but her legs can't move from side to side very much:

She can do excellent front-to-back splits, though:

Her legs are made out of rubbery vinyl and have a hinged click joint at the knee:

She can sit in a chair nicely, but her legs can't hang down straight:

This particular doll has a little bubble in the vinyl of her left knee joint.  You can see a bulge under the knee when this joint is bent:

The bubbled area is also visible when the leg is straight, although it's pretty hard to see here:

Lottie is just over seven inches tall, and fits well with the Barbie scale:

Here's Lottie, with her dog, all ready for an adventure in the park!

In the end we decided to leave Lottie's dog at home with our four other dogs, and we set out on our very first day trip to New York City!

Lottie was excited about the idea of catching a train.  I was excited that we didn't have to drive a car into the city.

She had a wonderful time watching all of the trains on the opposite platform come and go:

Once our train arrived, Lottie claimed the best window seat:

She enjoyed watching the changing scenery, especially as we got closer to the city:

We didn't have a solid plan for this trip, so we decided to walk to Rockefeller Center first, because it isn't far from the train station.

At that point, the huge Christmas tree was still being assembled (with scaffolding!) so there wasn't much to see, but you'll never guess what I found there.  FAO freakin' Schwarz!!  I thought it had closed!

But no.  It was very much open, with a massive line to enter the store that wrapped all of the way around the block:

We decided to stand in line and see how quickly things moved along.

Our wait was not enhanced by the enormous, larger-than-life decorations from the Sing 2 movie.

I haven't seen any of the Sing movies, and perhaps they're very good, but this massive pig with human teeth and eyebrows was startling.

This--whatever this is--was even more startling:

Anyway, after about a 20-minute wait, we finally got into the store.

The new store has a few things in common with the old FAO Schwarz, like a wonderful stuffed animal section with a bunch of unique and cuddly friends:

You can even buy a stuffed croissant!

There was a big Steiff section, too.  I love these giraffes!

Especially the larger baby:

The old FAO Schwarz was famous for having a lot of impressively large displays--like life-sized Lego sculptures or huge floor pianos.  This store didn't have much of that, but there was a life-sized, animated lion near the Schleich display:

One of my favorite pastimes at the old FAO Schwarz was to look at the Tonner doll displays.  But of course Tonner has gone out of business, and so there was nothing like that to enjoy.  

There was a fairly large Barbie section, though, which included a make-your-own Barbie activity called Styled by You.  

There were six dolls to choose from (there are supposed to be eight, if you look at the numbered yellow stickers in the case):

The dolls are all minimally-articulated, which is disappointing.  There's one Ken doll and two Curvy girls, but the other three look like regular Barbies.  I think there's supposed to be a redhead, a Petite girl, and a Tall girl.  Perhaps the selection changes from time to time?

I liked this doll with blue hair best!

Each doll comes with three outfits, a shoe accessory pack, and one "travel accessory" pack.  Each set costs $75, which was too much for me to even consider--especially since the dolls have unarticulated limbs.

Here are some of the different outfit and accessory packs that could be added:

I like this cool Ken saxophone set!

Despite the complexity and prominence of the Styled by You display, the best thing in the Barbie section was a Darth Vader Barbie.  I didn't even know that this existed:

Darth Vadar Barbie, $100.
It was hard to photograph her through the shiny plastic packaging, but she looks amazing.

I was very interested in the large Ruby Red Fashion Friends section of FAO Schwarz, because I have two of these dolls in my review queue, but had never seen one in person before.

The dolls are much larger than I'd anticipated, and they're beautiful!

There were a lot of outfits for sale, too:

A small collection of ballet-themed characters were on display in plastic cases, so I could get a really close look at them.  This charming boy was basically begging me to buy him:

And the blonde ballerina was stunningly pretty in person.  Her outfit is gorgeous:

I don't like the face mold on this next doll quite as much (I think it's a different mold--still learning), but she's also beautiful:

Here's the pale equivalent of the boy character.  He's also cute (but very monochromatic with that white outfit!):

These dolls cost $170 and are exclusive to FAO Schwarz.  They were not in stock when I visited (probably a good thing!) and are supposed to be available "after 12/20."

There was a massive baby doll section in this store, including an interactive adoption center where kids can customize their own baby.

Several of the possible babies were out on display, like this little redhead with bright green eyes:

A little Weasley!
This brown-eyed girl was another option, but I don't find her very appealing.  Madame Alexander's Anika is way cuter:

All of the babies have way too much hair to be newborns.

These babies all have the same face mold.  They remind me a bit of Lee Middleton dolls, but the manufacturer wasn't displayed or acknowledged anywhere.  Each baby "starts at" $75.

Here's a display case that featured one of these custom a bath with unicorn slippers?

Those look like mystical sting rays to me.
I thought some of the other baby doll options at FAO were more interesting.  There were a lot of dolls from the Llorens brand, which I'm not familiar with.

This 16-inch anatomically-correct baby boy is sweet:

Llorens Lucas, $85.
And I love this 11-inch nugget bundled up in her winter gear!

Llorens Rosa, $45.
I was tempted to buy the charismatic 15" Diara, but she was a bit too expensive:

Llorens Diara, $70.
It was fun to look at the different baby dolls after doing the Madame Alexander review.  It's been a while since I paid much attention to baby dolls, and there are some really nice ones out there!

The store was filled with display cases that were also fun to look at.  Some of the cases looked nicely put-together, like this collection of small Madame Alexander dolls:

I collected these dolls when I was a little girl, so I love to see that they're still being made--virtually unchanged from what I remember.

Some of the displays were not in great shape, though.  In this group, most of the dolls are sulking, not paying attention, or straight-up napping.  Only the doll in the middle, "Greek Prinkipissa," is making any effort:

C'mon, girls!  We're better than this!
There's clearly an association between FAO Schwarz and Target.  Target has a small section of FAO products in their toy aisles, and FAO Schwarz has a lot of signs saying "FAO loves Target."

I wondered if Target had purchased FAO Schwarz recently, but in fact FAO is owned by the ThreeSixty group at the moment.  They were owned briefly by Toys R Us in 2008, but we all know how things ended for Toys R Us.

As an aside, New Jersey is opening a Toys R Us at our giant American Dream Mall, so that could be a fun place to visit in the future!

Anyway, there were a lot of displays featuring dolls, like these O.M.G. characters, that were not for sale in the FAO Schwarz store at all, but are clearly in plentiful stock at Target:

I haven't seen a lot of O.M.G. dolls in person, so these displays were fun for me to look at.

I like how the doll in this case is walking through unopened L.O.L. balls that match her hair.  It's a classy arrangement.

As with the Madame Alexander displays, though, not all of these exhibits were well thought-out.  Case in point:

This glitzy girl looks like she's asleep (or flat-out drunk)...while tending several tiny babies?

Ugh, where am I?  What happened?  Does anyone else see all of these babies?
This golden-clad character looks very cool, though, with her entourage of tykes...except for the little one in the back who seems to have done a face-plant:

I was interested in this Our Generation Cozy Cabin house set, even though it was too big for me to purchase (and probably too big for me to review): 

There was one house stacked on another.  The top house was opened up and available to be played with by visiting kids, while the house underneath was still packaged up and presumably available for purchase.

Ever since my review of the Our Generation kitchen, I've had a very positive impression of Battat's accessories and playsets.

Our Generation Cozy Cabin, $119.99.
This toy looks like so much fun!  There's a little light-up wood stove in one corner, and a lot of detailed kitchen accessories:

The opposite side has a mini kitchen with stove burners that glow red:

I'll admit that my husband and I were hurrying through FAO Scwarz more than we might have ordinarily (he was hungry and there were a lot of kids waiting to get their turn inside!), but I'm pretty sure that there were no actual Our Generation dolls for sale in the store.  Or at least not out on display.  

The Our Generation dolls are for sale at FAO's online shop, but they cost $50.  Why would anyone buy a doll online from FAO when they could get the same doll (or a similar doll) for half the price at Target or  It's a very confusing arrangement.

Lottie had a great time at FAO Schwarz.  She loved all of the Christmas tree displays and insisted on climbing this tree so that I could get her picture:

She also thought that this ride-on airplane would be a good Christmas gift for her, even though I tried to explain that it was way too big:

Lottie liked all of the stuffed animals best, though.  She wasn't at all afraid of this life-sized Steiff lion:

I was afraid of the $4,975.00 price.

But this baby unicorn was her favorite:

After our visit to FAO Schwarz, we walked around near Rockefeller Center.  I love this Christmas ornament display!

Lottie liked admiring all of the tall buildings:

We stopped for lunch at a place near Carnegie Hall, and Lottie looked out the window and dreamed about playing a concert there someday.

Practice, practice, practice.
The food wasn't very good (we have yet to find a really amazing place to eat in New York...), but there was plenty of A1 steak sauce, at least.

"Makes beef sing" (but only with practice).
After lunch, Lottie finally got her walk in the park!

It was a gorgeous day, and this setting--a huge park surrounded by sparkling skyscrapers--never ceases to amaze me.

Lottie felt right at home.

Our last stop was the courtyard outside of the beautiful Metropolitan Opera.  I've seen this location so many times in movies, I wanted to experience it in person.  

Lottie loved the fountain:

Lottie is a perfect travel companion.  She was so much fun to have on this trip.  Nobody in New York flinched at the fact that I was carrying a little doll around with me everywhere, and I was in good company.  At one point we spotted a young woman who had an entire carriage full of dolls that she was pushing through the streets!  Perhaps that's what I like best about Manhattan: the casual acceptance of humanity's diversity.

Anyway, this review should have ended here, but of course after I returned home from New York, I went ahead and ordered three of the Lottie dolls that I'd been admiring online.

The thing that impresses me about the newer Lottie characters is how they represent such a wonderful array of hobbies, identities, and personalities.  Among the characters I didn't choose are a child who loves hunting for fossils, a girl who enjoys stargazing through her telescope, an artist with short hair and an easel, and an autistic boy who dreams of being an astronaut!  

But at $27 each, I had to be really picky and stop myself from buying all of them.

Here's my first pick:

Junior Reporter Sammi doll, $26.49.
This is Sammi, a boy who is passionate about being a reporter for his school newspaper.  

The boys in the Lottie line are called Finn, so Sammi is technically a Finn doll.  It's a bit like the Barbie and Ken dichotomy, except that Finn and Lottie share the same body mold.

Sammi's box is nicely decorated with images of the Branksea school sports day.

The back of the box has an image of Sammi and a short description of the sports day event:

Once the backdrop is pulled out of the main box, it's easy to see Sammi's accessories:

And his cute face!

The first thing I noticed about Sammi's face is that he has much thicker eyebrows than the Lottie dolls I've owned.  Finn has different eyebrows than Lottie, but even his brows are not as thick and long as Sammi's:

Finn looks a bit evil.
Here's Sammi out of the box:

Sammi is wearing a five-piece outfit that includes jeans, a long-sleeved shirt, a puffy vest, and skull cap.

The puffy vest is yellow on the outside and blue on the inside.  It feels sturdy and well-made:

And all of the stitching is neat:

Under the vest, Sammi is wearing a shirt with long striped sleeves and a headphone graphic:

The grey skull cap is made out of thin material, but it fits well, and Sammi's hair holds it in place quite securely:

Under the cap, Sammi has short dark brown hair with bangs:

The hair has a uniform length all of the way around:

And is rooted with a part on top of the head that's perpendicular to a typical center part:

Sammi's clothing feels more high-quality than Walk in the Park Lottie's.  In particular, Sammi's jeans do not have any sewing defects, and they have a cute decorative button on the front.

I especially like Sammi's red sneakers!

Sammi comes with a courier bag, an issue of the school paper, a notebook, and a grey pen:

The school paper doesn't look very interesting from the front.  It has a small picture of the sports day venue, but the article itself is simplified into rows of lines:

There's not much to read all about.
The inside of the paper is great fun, though!  Each page has a drawing that was made by a real child:

The drawings are reproduced in high detail and with bright colors:

I gather that these drawings are the winning entries in a worldwide competition.  How exciting must it be for these kids to have their artwork featured in such a popular toy!  I would have gone nuts for an opportunity like this when I was little.

The grey pen is quite simple:

But that circular grip allows Sammi to hold the pen in his hand:

The courier bag looks ok from the front:

But the inside is quite ragged.  The edges are uneven and the stitching is sloppy: 

The tiny little yellow notebook actually opens...

And has lined pages inside!

I love functional miniatures like this.

Here's Sammi with some of his accessories:

Sammi is awesome.  Aside from his clumsily-made bag, I have nothing but good things to say about him.  His face is charming, his outfit is bright, cheerful, easy to use, and is something a real child would wear.  I love the drawings in the school newspaper, the fact that the pen can be held, and the delicate detail in the miniature notebook.

The second doll I chose is named Mia.  Mia is a wildlife photographer:

Wildlife Photographer Mia doll, $26.49.
Her box is decorated with a colorful forest scene.

Mia has #ToyLikeMe on the back of her box.  This is a non-profit company that encourages toy companies to represent disabled children.  It wasn't immediately clear to me what Mia's disability is.

Mia comes with quite a few different accessories:

Her face is similar to Sammi's, with thick, long eyebrows that have a few individual hairs drawn on the inside edge:

As a person who has always had thick eyebrows, I appreciate this feature!

Mia comes in a bright red rain coat with a ladybug shirt and spotted red rain boots:

She, like every other Lottie doll I've ever seen, comes with her eyes glancing to her left, so she has to turn her head to look at the camera:

The hood of her raincoat can pull up over her head and hair nicely--especially now that I've learned to tuck the hair into the back of the jacket:

Mia is wearing a cochlear implant on her left ear!  It took me a minute to notice this:

I just love Mia's expression.  She is the most endearing of all the Lottie dolls I've seen.

The raincoat is easy to remove and does not have any way to fasten in the front.  The hood of the coat is lined with blue striped knit fabric that offers a great contrast to the red vinyl:

The inside of the rest of the jacket does not look as good.  The white backing on the vinyl is exposed and the seam edges look messy near the hood.

The stitching is a bit loose at the back of the hood, too:

Underneath the jacket, Mia is wearing a long-sleeved tee shirt with a ladybug graphic and blue striped sleeves:

Mia's jeans are a lot like Sammi's in that they have stitched decorative pockets and a little button on the front.  The light blue thread contrasts with the dark fabric of the pants, but the stitching is neater and more secure than it was with Walk in the Park Lottie's jeans.

Mia's cochlear implant is made out of flexible red vinyl.  I don't think it's meant to be removed, which is a good thing.  It would be way too easy to lose.

A cochlear implant is used to partially restore hearing.  The device has a tiny microphone that sits just outside the ear, and this transmits information straight into the cochlea of the inner ear.  Ordinarily, hairs inside the cochlea react to sound waves by vibrating.  These vibrations relay information to the brain.  If this system does not work properly, an implant can mimic the hairs by stimulating the cochlea directly.  It can't achieve the same precision as the hairs would, though, because the cochlea has thousands of hairs and an implant can only trigger a few dozen signals at a time.

Anyway, my understanding is that these devices are controversial, especially for Deaf parents with a deaf child.  When the medical community encourages the use of cochlear implants, it can come across as undervaluing the Deaf community and putting prejudice on the inability to hear normally.

That said, the devices can give auditory depth to a child's life, especially if the surgery is done at a young age.  The founder of #ToyLikeMe wears hearing aids herself, and so she must feel that this technology has enhanced her life:

Here's a bit more information about #ToyLikeMe:

That information pamphlet was one of many items that came with Mia:

She also has a blue hat that matches her pants:

The hat is shedding some stray bits of frayed fabric and looks messy inside:

There's also a matching courier bag:

This item is also messy, with loose threads and fraying fabric, although it's more symmetrical than Sammi's bag:

Here's Mia wearing her hat and bag:

The bag is a really fun accessory, and I like that the strap is long enough to sling across Mia's body.

The hat doesn't really fit.  It perches on top of Mia's head in an awkward way:

Mia also comes with a small plastic camera:

This looks like a film camera that I had in 1995.  It could also be a digital camera, I suppose, if the large rectangle on the back is a screen and not a compartment for film?

It would have been nice if this camera had come with a strap.

Mia also comes with an issue of the Branksea School News.  I was delighted to see that this isn't the same issue that came with Sammi!

This issue is filled with photographs taken by kids all over the world.  It's amazing:

Some of the photos are of Lottie dolls, and others are pictures of interesting things that have nothing to do with dolls--like a panda!

The photographs are really wonderful.  They must have gotten a lot of entries for this contest!

The newspaper fits nicely into Mia's bag:

Mia can't hold any of her accessories, but a bit of clear tape fixed this problem!

Because all Lottie dolls look to the left, they can't look at each other, which is sad.  Well, unless one of them is upside-down!

Sammi and Mia are very cute together.  They have slightly different skin tones, and different eye designs, although I think their eyebrows are identical:

Mia wanted to photograph Lottie for the next issue of the Branksea paper, in which Lottie will be interviewed about her fun day-trip to New York!

These two are a wonderful pair, with their coordinating red rain boots:

The last doll I bought is this lovely girl named Rosie Boo:

Rosie Boo doll, $26.49.
Rosie's box is decorated with a garden scene that features bunny rabbits.

Both Walk in the Park Lottie and Mia appear under the "Collect Them All" section of Rosie's box:

She's meant to depict a little girl with trisomy 21, or Down syndrome:

Rosie does not come with any accessories, which was disappointing after de-boxing Sammi and Mia:

Her face is different from other Lottie dolls.  She has large eyes that slant upwards and an extra crease drawn in underneath her eyes:

There's a beautiful innocence about Rosie's face that I love.

I also love her outfit, which includes a deep red corduroy dress with a bunny decoration:  

Here's a closer look at Rosie's sweet face:

She's wearing mismatched striped socks.  Mismatched socks are a sign of support for the Downs community:

I love the molded detail in Rosie shoes:

They look like hiking boots with red laces:

The treads are very detailed:

The only thing that's bad about these shoes is that they don't help Rosie stand up particularly well.  All of the other Lottie shoes in this review give better support.

Underneath her dress, Rosie is wearing a white long-sleeved shirt and some white underpants:

Rosie was voted the Most Friendly student for the year at Branksea, and so Sammi was anxious to interview her for the next issue of the paper!

Mia and Rosie are best friends.  They balance each other out because Rosie's friendliness makes up for Mia being a bit shy.  They also share a great love for all animals:

Lottie, who likes nothing more than to be dressed in her signature bunny coat, was psyched to see that Rosie is wearing a dress with bunnies on it! 

Bottom line?  I still love Lottie dolls and I still love New York City.  But I'll expand a bit on that.

There are quality control issues with the clothing and accessory construction in these dolls that I don't remember from my earlier experience with Lottie.  Only one of the characters (Rosie) came without any notable flaws.  Walk in the Park Lottie has a sloppily-sewn pair of baggy jeans with the pocket stitching coming undone on one side.  The collar of her shirt is also lopsided.  The leash for Lottie's dog is embarrassingly crude, although it's very easy to use, which is nice.  Sammi has a bag accessory that's asymmetric and messy.  Mia has an ill-fitting hat that sheds, and a raincoat with an unattractive interior and a loose stitch in the hood.  

Another little gripe I have is that all of the dolls are looking to their left.  Why can't there be any diversity in the alignment of the eyes?  I wish some of these dolls were looking straight ahead or to the opposite side.  But, despite all of this, I love every last one of them.  Even with their nearly $30 price tag.

Why do I love these dolls so much?  First of all, they are a great size.  They pair well with 1:6 dolls and are easy to carry around.  They feel sturdy and durable to me, with nice hair, good balance, and decent articulation.  They also have bodies and clothing that are realistic and appropriate for young children.  Most of the clothing is well-made and attractive.  The faces are cute and relatable, too, and I'm enjoying the diversity of features in the newer dolls.  None of the dolls I reviewed here have any glaring paint defects on their faces, which is nice.  

Maybe the thing I like best about these dolls, though, is that every single one of the characters emits a clear, memorable personality.  Lottie is the dog-lover who isn't afraid to embrace her own fashion style.  She's at home in the big city because she knows that she'll find other people who understand her there.  Sammi is the ambitious and hip young reporter who loves sports and music and can talk to almost anyone about anything.  Mia is the cheerful and empathetic animal-lover who connects with the outdoors (and to her peers) through the safe lens of photography.  Rosie is the sweet, charismatic girl who loves bunnies and is a good and constant friend to everyone she meets.  I feel like I know these little kids, and yet they are very simple and modest in their design.

Probably Arklu should invest more in the quality control of their clothing and accessories.  I'm never a fan of things that are sloppily done, especially in a doll line with huge potential.  But perhaps it's more important that this company continues to put their best efforts into the design and inclusivity of these unique personalities.  I, for one, would be happy to overlook some messy seams and ill-fitting pants if I had the chance to meet more of these delightful, lovable characters in the future.  

Lottie dolls, from left: Rosie Boo, Junior Reporter, Walk in the Park, and Wildlife Photographer.


  1. Boy, did I need this post today! Feeling the Christmas blues since I'm spending the holiday in quarantine due to covid exposure :( It was wonderful seeing all of your pics from your NYC trip! I loved being able to experience a little bit of the city vicariously through you! (And what wonderful news to know that FAO Schwartz is still alive!)
    As for the Lottie dolls, I'm loving how simple and sweet they are. They're a breath of fresh air in a market that's currently saturated with extreme glam and exaggerated features. The extreme dolls are fun, but it's really nice to see dolls meant to represent regular, everyday kids. And the fact that they're representing dolls with different abilities (even less-visible differences like Autism!) is very cool. This definitely sounds like a company worth supporting!

    1. Dearest Stevie Lou, I'm so sorry that you have to quarantine over the holidays! That's the absolute worst, and so depressing. :( But you are a hero. One of my nearest and dearest was immunocompromised, and so people like you--who are aware of covid and taking precautions--are the ones who were keeping her safe. Thank you. :)
      I totally agree about Lottie! She's a refreshingly ordinary kiddo. I loved spending time with her and I can only imagine that kids feel the same way.
      Hang in there! I really hope that 2022 gets off to an amazing, healthy start for you. :)

  2. How nice that you got to go on a trip with a doll like in the good old days! We were watching Home Alone 2 the other day and I was thinking "Duncan's toy chest sure looks a lot like the famous FAO Schwarz, too bad it moved!". And here you are window shopping in it! That was my favourite part of today's post. I don't have much to say about Lottie. They seem like great wholesome dolls for kids, just like in the first review.

  3. The new Lottie faces are adorable! They did a great job changing up the look while still making it cohesive as a line, which I don't think was easy considering how familiar OG Lottie's face has become! So sweet and kind...

    Those Barbie Styled By You dolls are total cop-outs, I'm afraid! You can buy all those dolls as Fashionistas separately... for like 1/7th of that price! The blue-haired doll you like is Fashionista 143.

    Merry Christmas!

    1. You can also buy most of those fashion packs separately, too... I understand that this is an in-store, exclusive thing but that price makes zero sense.

  4. If you get another chance to buy the fossil collector I highly recommend her. It isn't every day that one sees a doll with ammonites as accessories. That said, you chose wisely. Rosie is particularly adorable.

  5. Wow, what a fabulous review(s)! I love it when you go to toy stores so we can vicariously enjoy window shopping. You would think the big chains would all carry the same things, but they don’t. Your husband sounds like such a good sport! Mine would probably offered to wait outside 🙂
    I haven’t been following the Lottie line, so a quick drive through amazon was quite a surprise. I had no idea how the line has grown, I just hope the quality—one of Lotties charms—stays high. I was disappointed and and a little alarmed to see the poor construction and fraying of the little Shoulder bags. It isn’t rocket science to check how much a fabric frays, especially crucial in a small piece. I applaud the direction they are going in general

  6. Aaa I loved seeing your adventures with Lottie in the city! The photographs you took with her in particular were so nice, and she's a super photogenic little doll, with lots of expressiveness for her small size! It seems like you guys had a great time, and I really enjoyed seeing the you displays which caught your eye too! It must be a fun job to be the person who sets up all the different displays in the cases; I'd love to get to do something like that. :D

    And all the Lottie and Finn dolls you reviewed were so adorable; I think my favourite must be Sammi... or Rosie, or- aah, so hard to pick! XD

    It's so good to see respectful disability representation in this doll line too, I think these dolls could be helpful for teaching some kids about their peers in a way that makes the concept easy to understand, while more importantly, providing kids with disabilities with a toy that can represent them.

    Hope you're having a wonderful time with family!

  7. I'm so glad that the Lottie line is still around, and that there is more diversity than in the early releases. I do hope they can keep up the quality, but I also understand needing to keep the price reasonable.

  8. Merry Christmas! What a treat to see the inside of an FAO Schwarz store, I'd love to go to one, one day. The price on those Barbie dolls is insane though, especially for so little articulation. Do they even have click knees? The Ruby Red Fashionistas are my new obsession now, I checked out the website and the ones I like are all sold out (there's a red-headed girl named Perihelia you might like...) so I'll definitely be oscillating back and forth from that site for the next few weeks, lol. Hope you had a great holiday season, and thanks for another wonderful review!

    1. Merry Christmas to you, too! I agree that the Barbie price was *ridiculous.* I was not even remotely tempted by that experience. But the Ruby Red kids? They're amazing! And you're right about Perihelia. I would have LOVED her, but have "settled" for some more recent releases. ;)

  9. By the way...What happened to My Twinn Cinderellas?

    1. I've told myself that I will start making dolls again in the new year. Sorry--getting things started on this blog has been all-consuming! ;D

  10. Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your help, Cari! Here I am in Chrome. Maybe this will work?

  11. Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones!

    I'm pleased to see you reviewing Lottie dolls again. Thank-you. If I hadn't bought so many of them to give away since you discussed them I might have thought they were discontinued because there's very little publicity for this brand.

    I'm impressed that the line is growing more inclusive without making it gimmicky. They're as charming as ever and I do hope they get better quality control for the clothing because they're the kind of dolls kids play with for years.

  12. Lottie is great! What a fun companion for a day in the big city!

  13. Sorry, all. I have been unable to comment for some ridiculous reason. The Lottie dolls are for sale as a lot in the store right now! Thank you to everyone who helped me diagnose this problem. :D Now I can reply to comments again.

    1. Awwww ❤️❤️❤️

      It took me 12 times now to comment. When I use my blogger profile it always says „oops, didn‘t work“ and when I use the anon-comment option it goes nowhere…

  14. Ohh these Lotti-dolls are so so cute :) They remind me of an other doll they sell here from Japan.

    And that exact croissant was sitting here next to me while I was reading :)

    About Ruby Red: Perihelia is an absolute dream, but sadly they stopped the delivery to European resellers right whe she was released and the aftermarket prices are over the moon for her :(

  15. I love Mia and I love how she represents the Deaf community.