Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Mattel Mermaids

I've been missing in action for a while because my husband and I finally took an honest-to-goodness, week-long, have-to-get-on-an-airplane vacation.  We haven't taken any significant trips with just the two of us since our honeymoon, so we felt like it was past time.  We decided to visit St. John, in the United States Virgin Islands.  This is the place that we visited ten years ago, with our kids and parents.  It's where I photographed the Rapunzel and Mother Gothel review, and also the underwater Lala-Oopsie sea horse review.

This time around, we rented a small house in a remote location and had an amazing time snorkeling, cooking, and trying to catch up on sleep.  Wild goats kept us from sleeping through most nights (in a charming, goat-like way, for sure) but everything else was magical.  I'm so glad that we finally took the plunge.  I'll confess that we weren't the only ones who had a good time on this trip, though.  Lena managed to convince us that she should come along, too--you know, to chaperone the other dolls.  She made a good point; I always like to bring along several doll companions when I travel, and things can get rowdy.  And anyway, I have a hard time saying no to Lena.  She had her own agenda for the trip, of course, and you'll hear more about that in future posts.

It's always tough to decide which dolls should be included in special trips like this, but since I knew I was going to be doing a lot of swimming and snorkeling, I figured it was the perfect time to continue with my mini series of mermaid doll reviews.  I've already looked at MGA's Mermaze Mermaidz and Spin Master's Mermaid High (both now discontinued, by the way), so this time I decided to showcase two of Mattel's mermaid creations: a Barbie Dreamtopia mermaid, and Monster High's mermaid hybrid, Sirena Von Boo:

Monster High's Freaky Fusion Sirena Von Boo by Mattel, MSRP $24.99.

Sirena was made in 2014 and is now discontinued, so she feels pretty special.  I decided to save her for the end of the review and start things off with the Barbie mermaid.

There are many different Barbie mermaids on the market at any given moment.  There are the Dreamtopia dolls, which have permanent plastic tails and tend to cost around $10:

There are also Chelsea-sized Dreamtopia mermaids, too (for around $8) and these are super-cute.  I found this one on Amazon for just over $5:

There are even some dolls with removable fabric tails, like this Skipper:

Mermaid Power Skipper doll, $22.99.
There are also a bunch of Color Reveal mermaids that are fun, like this one who I reviewed over on Patreon:

Barbie Color Reveal mermaid, $17.99.

Mattel has also made a few Signature collector merfolk, like this beauty with pink hair and a beautiful sequined tail:

The Signature mermaids sell for at least $200 on the secondary market, though, so they were out of the running.  I'm not going to take a $200 doll with me into the ocean.

It wasn't easy to choose which doll to review from all of these options, but I eventually settled on a Dreamtopia set.  Not only does this set have a full-sized mermaid, but there's a toddler and a baby, too!

Barbie Dreamtopia Mermaid Nursery Playset, $33.99.
The set comes with a bunch of accessories, including a cute little squirty narwhal:

This toy was made in 2020, but is still available.

The dolls and accessories all came mounted onto a cardboard backdrop that pulled easily out of the main box.  The backdrop is decorated with coral, sponges, and rainbows.  It looks very appealing!

The fin on the larger doll's tail is made out of pink vinyl, not plastic, and you can see that it was packaged separately from the rest of the body.   The fin piece snapped easily into place and then felt quite secure.

The baby comes secured to her seaweed crib, staring up at a mobile...but she doesn't look very happy!

Gassy, maybe?
Most of the items were held to the backdrop with long plastic ties or clear rubber bands, so it was relatively easy to get everything free.

Here are all of the accessories:

The large structure is composed of a slide with stairs and a seaweed crib.

The crib is cute, and I really like the mobile.  It actually spins around, and has three colorful decorations: a pink star fish, a yellow clam shell, and a blue spiral shell:

Here's the mobile in a different position so that you can see the clam shell better:

The leaf-like bed also rocks back and forth.

The slide has molded plastic stairs on one side:

The stairs are translucent yellow with infused glitter.  There's a molded pattern on the side that's hard to see, but looks like a star fish with some seaweed and waves behind it:

The slide itself is made out of opaque light blue plastic:

The arch of the slide is decorated with a rainbow sticker, and the base has some molded designs:

The smaller accessories include this clam shell bed:

Or maybe it's a chair?
The shell has a hinged back and can open and close:

There's also this adorable purple narwhal, who can squirt water out of his mouth:

He has a bright blue horn and a molded star pattern on his back:

The last accessory is this blue baby bottle:

Now let's take a look at the actual mermaids!

The primary doll is a pink-haired Barbie with a completely molded outfit:

She didn't come with a name, so I turned to the mermaid name generator at the Fin Fun site (remember that review?), which gave me this:

Melody Treasure-Fluke has a standard open-mouthed face mold.  I'm not a Barbie expert, but I think this is the Millie face:

The screening is okay, but it's more pixelated and sloppy than a Signature Looks doll:

Also, it looks like the lip stencil slipped down, so that the upper lip paint doesn't quite reach the margins of the molded mouth, while the lower lip paint continues down below where the contours of the mouth end.

Melody's molded outfit includes a ruffled pink tank top with a yellow star-themed strap on one side, and a scaled purple tail with star accents and a blue sash at the top:

Here she is from the back:

This doll came with some black gunge stuck in her hair:

It almost looks like those sections of hair were melted together.  I had to cut the whole mess out.

Behind the hair, you can see that there's no color detail on Melody's tank top strap or the sash around her waist:

Did they run out of paint?
Melody has simple articulation in her neck and shoulders, and she also has a single hinge joint at her hips. This means that she can sit on the ground:

And she can also push herself up when she's laying on her stomach.  I think of this as the official mermaid pose:

Not very graceful.
I really wish Melody had more movement in her arms.  Why not give her Made to Move arms?  She'd be so much more expressive.

The eldest merchild is this toddler:

The mermaid name generator thought that her name should be Zoey Shimmer-Sequin:

Zoey has a cute face with upturned blue eyes, and molded seafoam blue hair that's styled into two buns:

Here's a better-lit shot of her face paint:

Her face paint actually looks less pixelated and more vibrant than Melody's.

Zoey's outfit is molded, and includes a bright pink tank top with star decorations.  Her tail is purple with a scale pattern:

Here she is from the back:

Like Melody, Zoey's neck and shoulders have simple rotational joints.  In addition, she has a hinge at her waist and a point of rotation just above her tail fin:

At first, before I saw Zoey in person, I assumed that she was Chelsea-sized.  She's not, although her tail makes her almost the same height.  

Still, you can see that she's shorter overall, has a smaller head, and has shorter arms with splayed fingers:

Barbie Chelsea doll (left) and Barbie toddler mermaid (right).
Here's a look at how Zoey compares to a Chelsea-sized mermaid:

Barbie Chelsea mermaid (left) and toddler mermaid (right).
Zoey is actually more like a Barbie toddler, which I'd never seen in person before now.

I found a toddler from the Skipper Babysitters Inc. collection that I bought so that I could compare her directly to Zoey:

Barbie Skipper Babysitters Inc. potty training set, $10.94.
These little ones have molded hair, fabric clothes, and five simple points of articulation (neck, shoulders, and hips):

At about three inches tall, toddlers like this are quite a bit shorter than Chelsea:

Barbie toddler (left) and Chelsea (right).
And also shorter than Zoey:

Barbie regular toddler (left) and toddler mermaid (right).
Zoey can wear some toddler clothing, and this butterfly dress actually works pretty well with the colors in her tail:

I think Zoey is cuter than the regular toddler, although both are sweet.

Even though the toddler has jointed hips, Zoey's tail hinge allows her to sit up much straighter:

I can't believe I've never see one of these Barbie toddlers in person before!  It's good that Zoey gave me an excuse to check one out.  She'll be handy to have around for other size comparisons, I'm sure.

Anyway, the littlest mermaid is this purple-haired baby:

And her name is...

Shelly Clever-Fin!

Shelly has the same upper body mold as a Barbie baby like my Marigold, but of course she has a tail instead of legs.  It looks like the two babies might have different face molds, too, but I think they're just painted differently and are shown at different angles:

Here's a closer look at Shelly's face, although it was hard to get all of her features in focus:

Her lips have a spotted texture, and I think the color is too dark for a baby.  Also, there's a lot of missing paint in her hair and on the headband.

Like Marigold, Shelly has a rigid neck and simple joints in her shoulders.  In addition, she has a hinge joint in her hips, and a rotational joint at the base of her tail fin:

It's interesting to me that both Zoey and Shelly have joints in their tail fins, but Melody does not.

Shelly is wearing a pink tank top with a star and some clouds on it. Her tail is yellow, with a seafoam green fin:

For reference, here are all three sizes of child mermaid together:

From left: Chelsea mermaid, toddler mermaid, and baby mermaid.
Shelly's face has some issues, but I think she looks really cute in profile when she's lying down in her seaweed cradle, gazing up at the mobile:

This bed and the attached slide structure would probably be a lot of fun for kids to play with.  Zoey can slide down the slide while Shelly watches her mobile...

But one oversight is that Zoey can't climb the slide's stairs since she doesn't have any legs:

And of course slides don't work underwater, but let's forget we know that.
Zoey can sit in the clam shell chair:

Or Shelly can use it for a nap:

The bottle is a cute accessory, but unfortunately Meldoy doesn't have nearly enough arm articulation to hold and feed her baby:

No wonder she's fussy.
These mermaids look awkward on land, so I decided to take them underwater to observe them in their natural habitat:

Melody had to get her bearings for a second:

But she quickly found a rock with a soft place to sit so that she could take in the scenery:

Melody saw a lot of surface-swimming fish go by, so she went to get a better looks at a few of those: 

Including this trumpetfish...which is even larger than Melody!

After following the trumpetfish for a while, Melody decided to take a short trip to explore the deeper water:

Melody felt at home away from shore, where her tail was safe from rubbing against fire coral, and where she could dive and swim to her heart's content.

It was also a good place to spot some of her deep-water friends, like this turtle:

Here's a closer look:

Or this large, stoic tarpon:

Who looks ever better up close:

As an aside, all of the up-close marine life photos are courtesy of my husband, Andy.  While Melody and I swam near the surface, he did the deep-dives to get the coolest shots.

As much fun as we had in the deep water, Melody couldn't stay out for very long.  She had to head back to the shallow reefs to check on Zoey and Shelly:

Here is my favorite portrait of Melody underwater:

And of course I wanted to test how well she could strike the quintessential mermaid pose, too.  You know, something like this:

So I asked her to pull herself up on shore for a minute.

The waves didn't cooperate fully (or, rather, I didn't want to put Melody in a wave that might wash her out to sea...), and she couldn't quite bend enough at the waist, but she did just fine:

Meanwhile, Zoey and Shelly were entertaining themselves in the shallows:

Zoey is very curious and bold,

And she likes to swim along the rocks to hunt for interesting coral and worms:

But she knows the rules of the ocean, and since there's always the threat of a bigger fish, she tends to stick to the crevices when Melody is far away:

Fortunately, she has a few fish friends who are always available to watch over her:

And keep her company:

Shelly sticks to the crevices even more than Zoey, since she'd be a tasty snack for many of the larger fish.

Like this barracuda!

She'll occasionally venture out to look for Melody or Zoey, though...

Barracuda bait.
But any sudden movement tends to scare her back into the shadows:

Where she, too, has an attentive babysitter to keep watch:

Or give her a reassuring kiss:

When Melody is nearby and the girls feel safe, they like to burrow into the smaller rocks...

And wait for the schools of little fish to swim by!

At this point I wanted to include a few pictures of the merkids playing with their narwhal friend, but unfortunately he escaped out of my pocket and got lost!  We searched and searched but were unable to find him.  I hope he was rescued by one of the human kids at the beach.

I had a really fun time with Melody, Zoey, and Shelly, but I have to admit that I was most excited about getting a look at the Monster High doll that I brought on this trip: Sirena Von Boo.  Sirena is a ghost-mermaid hybrid character that was released as part of the Freaky Fusion wave of dolls.

I didn't purchase many of the Freaky Fusion characters back in 2014, but I love the wonderful centaur and harpy hybrid, Avea Trotter.  She remains one of my all-time favorite dolls:

For whatever reason, I overlooked Sirena Von Boo when she came out--perhaps because her mermaid tail makes her less versatile than the other dolls?  Or maybe just because Avea took up all of my attention.

Incidentally, Sirena isn't the only Monster High mermaid.  The Great Scarrier Reef collection also had a few merfolk, like Posea Reef:

There's also Finnegan Wake, who uses a wheelchair (brilliant move on Mattel's part, I think):

And there were several of the main characters in mermaid form, like this Clawdeen Wolf:

In any case, I thought Sirena was the most compelling of the merfolk that I hadn't seen in person yet--or at least the most compelling one that was also affordable on the secondary market.  

I found my doll on eBay for about $50.  Her package was a little worn, but I didn't care about that:

I got a huge kick out of looking at all of the details on Sirena's box.  It was like going back in time!

What's a DVD?
These older boxes have so much less plastic than the G3 boxes.  I wish Mattel had kept the older style.

There's also a lot of fun information on the back of the box:

And the detailed bio on the box is only an except from all of the information that's available in Sirena's diary:

There's even a blurb at the bottom of the box that explains the Freaky Fusion concept:

Basically, the characters travel back in time, but some of them end up getting fused together because of a vortex glitch.  It's pretty creative.

The box has dramatic art, too.  Sirena looks fierce!

Lightning underwater is weird, though.
Sirena came with a brush and a diary.  She doesn't need a stand because her tail can support her:

I think she looks amazing, but not as fierce as her box art!

Here's Sirena with her diary:

I didn't photograph any of the diary pages, but I really love these little books.  I wish that the newer dolls still had them; they're a great way of getting to know the characters for people (like me) who don't watch the movies or televisions shows.

Sirena has a charming face and gorgeous multi-colored hair with an elaborate style.  Her outfit is complex, too, with a mix of fabric, vinyl, and fringe pieces:

Here she is from the back:

Her hair is pulled up into a gelled curl in the front, has a ponytail at the back, and features three twisted strands on one side:

The curl on the top of her head is held in place with blue thread:

A lot of effort went into this hairstyle!

And a lot of creativity went into Sirena's face paint, too.  Her eyebrows are in the shape of dorsal fins, and her irises are filled with little bubbles!

My doll has some imperfections in the texture of her lip paint, but otherwise I love her face:

Her luminescent, ghostly pale vinyl even has a shimmering texture that makes her look fish-like and mysterious:

Sirena's outfit consists of a fabric tank top, a decorative ruffle, fringed wrist bands, a chain tail cover, and a few pieces of jewelry:

Her tank top has a cool octopus print that I really like:

Here's the outfit from the back:

The off-the-shoulder ruffle accommodates a small black fin that's sticking out of Sirena's back: 

And the chain tail decoration has little vinyl tabs that allow the piece to be removed:

I removed all of the parts of Sirena's outfit so that we could get a better look at everything.

Her necklace and her left earring are both molded to look like chains--acknowledging the ghostly side of her personality:

The left earring is a plain stud, which shows off the awesome fin-like shape of Sirena's ear:

This view also reveals one of the imperfections on my doll: a dark smudge on her chin that I was not able to remove:

I'm not sure exactly how the smudge got there, but I wonder if the black fringe on Sirena's wrists flipped up and sat near her face for many years?  It's a possibility.

The tank top is mostly green, with the tentacle print continuing on the back side:

The top is neatly stitched with a velcro closure in back.  It has clear vinyl shoulder straps that have started to yellow with age:

The ruffle accent also has a velcro seam in back, and is made out of two layers of fabric:

The top layer is back mesh with a shiny black seaweed-like pattern, and the bottom layer is iridescent dark blue netting.

The fringe accents on Sirena's wrists look really great, but I had to pull her hands off in order to remove them: 

Underneath her tank top and ruffle, Sirena had a protective layer of tissue paper wrapped around her torso:

I guess this was meant to protect her from stains, but since the black ruffle didn't stain her shoulders and neck, I'd say there wasn't much to worry about:

The tail decoration was extremely difficult to remove.  Those little vinyl tabs on the back are stiff, so it was hard to pry them apart.

I did manage to get the chains off, though:

I like the back embellishment at the waist, and how the tabs in back are shaped like shells:

Underneath all of her clothing, Sirena's pale body has some subtle molded decoration:

The pattern along her hips and at the top of her tail looks like fan coral to me:

You can see the pattern around her shoulders and upper arms, too:

And down her back:

Here's a closer look at the fin on her back:

Her lower arms have similar fin-like shapes on them, but these are shaded with dark, iridescent blue:

And Sirena's fingers are webbed--just like G1 Lagoona (but not G3 Lagoona, who has regular hands).

Sirena's upper body is jointed exactly like other Monster High dolls, with a flexible head, and rotating hinges at the shoulders, elbows, and wrists.

In addition, she has hinge joints at her waist and at the top of her tail fin.  Unfortunately, these hinges do not allow her to sit as well as the Barbie mermaids could sit:

And she really struggles to do the propped-up mermaid pose:

But the tail fin can hinge both forwards and backwards:

And it even splits into two pieces that can hinge apart, which is great for adjusting balance:

Being in the box for ten years didn't do any favors to Sirena's hair.  It felt greasy and clumped together.  She also appears to have the hard, glue-filled head that plagued many dolls from this era. 

However, the hair was easy to brush:

I love the color of this hair, too.  It's a beautiful mix of blues, with a hint of purple thrown in:

The hair looks a little frizzy after it's been brushed, but overall this is an improvement:

I wasn't sure what would happen to Sirena's fancy hairstyle when she was underwater, but I got her dressed, packer her up, and took her to the Caribbean anyway.

Sirena went swimming at the exact same beach that we took the Lala-Oopsie sea horse, Sunstar, to nearly a decade ago:

The visibility wasn't quite as good as it was the last time we were there, but that's probably because it's much windier on St. John in February than it is in June.

Sirena was eager to check up on the health of her coral friends.  There were patches of good coral, but the overall situation was only so-so.

This fan coral was Sirena's favorite, probably because it looks so healthy:

Or maybe because it matches her hair.
Sirena was busy looking at some bright red sponges when a big group of yellow fish swam past and turned her head:

What was that?
She took off to see if she could catch them:

Here fishy, fishy, fishy...
They were very fast, though, so she almost lost them!

Where did they go?
But then she spotted them in the shallows, and swam over to meet them:

There were so many of them all together!

These fish are called French grunts, and they're really cute!

You can tell Andy's pictures from mine at this point, can't you?  Sigh.

Nearby, Sirena also found her very favorite fish friend, the blue tang:

I think Sirena likes blue tangs because they're curious--like her.

Or maybe because they match her hair.
After hanging out with the fish for a while, Sirena decided that she'd swim out away from shore.  The color of the deep water is so vibrant!

She descended away from the sunny surface to explore the murky depths.

The dim light and blue cast at this depth really bring out the ghostly (and slightly spooky!) side of Sirena's personality:

The deeper water is also where it's possible to see things like this stingray and its bar jack fish friend:

There's a commensal relationship between these two where the stingray stirs up food, and the bar jack eats the scraps.

Sirena was not interested in eating scraps, so she moved on.

No, thank you.
Sirena heard a funny noise at the surface, and when she swam up to investigate...

She realized that in the few minutes she'd been submerged, it had started to rain!

The rain only lasted about thirty seconds, though, and it hardly mattered anyway: it's always raining underwater.

So Sirena went back under, only to discover a wall of bubbles!  Something very large must have just swum past:

That'd be Andy.
Sirena enjoyed playing in the bubbles!

You might have noticed that Sirena's front hair curl came undone almost immediately, but she looked fabulous nonetheless:

We had an amazing time swimming together!

Of course the one thing left for me to do was to see if Sirena could strike the classic mermaid pose, so I asked her to haul herself out onto a picturesque rock and wait for a wave:

Not bad.

After that, I let Sirena relax, dry off, and enjoy the spectacular scenery of the island:

Bottom line?  It's hard to be really serious about critiquing dolls that I had such a wonderful vacation with, but I'll give it a shot.

The Barbie Dreamtopia set is unique because it offers three different sizes of mermaid: a full-sized Barbie, a toddler, and a baby.  I wish it had also included a Chelsea-sized mermaid, but those are easy to buy separately.  All three of the Barbie mermaids are cute and fun to play with, and I imagine that the slide and crib structure could be a welcome addition to a child's games.  The narwhal is also adorable, and makes a fun friend for the merkids.  He makes a good water toy, too, just don't let him escape!  The dolls all have molded clothing, and only one of them has rooted hair.  This makes the set great for water play, whether it's in the bath, at the pool, or in the ocean.  All of the dolls rinsed off and dried out nicely, and at this point it's impossible to tell that they were ever underwater.

I was a little disappointed by the quality of the face paint on the Barbie mermaids.  Melody's features are pixelated, with misaligned lip paint, and while Zoey's face is good, Shelly's features are painted in such a way that she looks angry or gassy sometimes.  Also, her lips are too dark for a baby and her hair has some missing paint.  I don't think those little things would have bothered me as much if I'd paid for the dolls separately and they were all under $10, but because the set cost me nearly $40, I'm looking for higher quality.  My biggest complaint about these dolls, though, is their articulation.  The kids are actually articulated quite well for their size, but Melody is underwhelming.  Because her tail has limited movement, I think it would have been best to balance that with excellent arm joints--like the Made to Move dolls.  This would have allowed Melody to be much more expressive, adopt some realistic swimming poses...and feed her freakin' baby.  I have to say, if Mattel ever decides to design a play line Made to Move mermaid, I'll be first in line to buy it.  I would absolutely love to see something like that, especially if there was a clever way to add articulation to the tail.

As for Sirena, it feels a little strange to review her after she's been discontinued for a decade.  One thing I should mention right off the bat is that, with her fabric clothing and complex hair, she clearly wasn't meant to be a water toy the same way the Barbie mermaids were.  That said, she did quite well in the ocean, and the only casualty was the front part of her hairstyle.  

Overall, I would say that Sirena is absolutely worth the $24.99 price that she originally cost, despite the presence of a few flaws.  The flaws on my doll are minor (things like the dark smudge on her face, the imperfect lip paint, and the glue-filled skull) and do not detract from her unique charm.  I wish that she had slightly more flexibility in her tail, so that she could sit down more easily on the ground or on a rock, but that's not as important to me as the fact that she can balance on her own.  As for whether or not she's worth the secondary market prices (which can go over $100), that's less clear.  I saw some signs of age on my doll, like her greasy, matted hair, the yellowed straps on her top, her battered box, and perhaps that dark smudge on her face.  I found it easy to dismiss those things, though, in part because the doll is unique and captivating, but also because I'm caught up in the nostalgia of her.  The very fact that she's DVD-old is appealing to me.  I loved getting a chance to go back in time and de-box a doll from the beginning of Monster High's reign.  This was made even more poignant by the fact that Mattel has recently re-launched the brand.  It's so fun to compare and contrast iterations of the wildly creative Monster High concept.

But of course the big thing with Melody, Zoey, Shelly, and especially Sirena, is that after coming on a trip with me, they feel a bit like family.  They enriched my days, kept me entertained, taught me a little something about fish, and are now wonderful souvenirs of our time on St. John.  And as an adult, this is about as close as I can get to the deep connection that I felt to some of my childhood toys--where each game and adventure we shared made me more and more attached.  At this point I'm so attached to Sirena that I find it impossible to see how I didn't add her to my collection back in 2014.  Better late than never, though, I suppose...much like this long-awaited vacation.


  1. That was a lovely journey, Emily, thanks for sharing it with us.

    Also for sacrificing Sirena to the depths of the ocean just to see how she would cope. I don't think I would ever dare! Her main curl did still retain it's shape, which is neat.

    1. Thank you, Esther! I had to shape that part of her hair every time she was out of the water and drying, but the hair holds its shape really well! Probably all of that glue in the head, lol. ;)

    2. I wouldn't dare put any of my Disney or MH dolls in the ocean. Actually, the cost doesn't matter so much because my Iris Clops is not as in as great condition as the $3 Skultimate Roller Maze Operetta I have off Ebay. That's the most perfect doll I have. For reference, I have a 20th anniversary Kida doll that's limited edition still in the box. Only a noncharacter doll is ocean-worthy.

  2. Oh, Emily, this was such a beautiful review. Mermaids should always be reviewed in the ocean. :-D Thank you!

    1. I agree, Maricha! I only wish the other mermaid reviews had been underwater, too. I'll tell Andy we need to take these trips more often...

  3. I always love retrospective or retro toy reviews here, and while it's definitely a little jarring for MH to be part of that (Sirena is almost ten years old!), I've had fun writing my own blog reviews of older MH dolls because I find it super interesting to look back on the older form of the brand while acquiring things I never got during its prime! I've been working with Freaky Fusion myself recently with some of the fused ghouls, and I have an Avea I'm saving for myself, largely sold on me by your review, and who will be the subject of my own soon, so I was pleasantly surprised to see Sirena here! It's important to remember the back catalog of great toys. There are pitfalls with aging and aftermarket prices, but the old stuff largely holds up and can be worth pursuing.

    1. I totally agree, DB. There's so much focus on what's new and what's coming next (it's exciting, I know!), but it's also nice to slow down and look back at the interesting dolls from the past. And omg, it's so hard to believe that Sirena is that old!! Anyway, I'd love to know what you think of Avea!

    2. I'm saving Avea for my birthday, so the review will probably be out by the end of March at the earliest. When it is done, though, it'll be joining my other posts on!

  4. I have all of the monster high mermaids EXCEPT for Finnigan. I definitely agree about the lack of tail flexibility, but those underwater photos of Serena are absolutely fantastic!

    Side question: will you ever do more MyTwinn makeovers? I’ve been waiting forever to see your cinderellas<3

    1. I'm jealous about your MH mermaid collection! Wow! And I'm so sorry about the My Twinn makeovers. This blog completely took over my life. I would love to get back and finish the Cinderellas some day. I've been thinking more and more about that, but there are not enough hours in the day!! I'll figure it out eventually. :)

  5. Wow, you are committed! The underwater photos are amazing! I hope you really enjoyed taking them - sounds like a terrible ordeal to my hydrophobic self. I handled mermaid dolls (Barbie) only once and they felt really big and awkward. I don't get the appeal of dolls with a permanent mermaid tail. But you make them look so graceful in photos.

    1. Oh, I'm sorry that you're hydrophobic! I hope underwater pics don't stress you out. I'm hydrophilic. I love being in the water, and my dearest wish is to have a swimming pool. Never going to happen, but a girl can dream. :D I find the Barbie mermaids clunky, but Sirena's curvy tail really adds to her drama and appeal. I wish that the MGA mermaids had interesting shapes in their tails, because their faces are so lovely.

  6. MnGrl here. First question:what camera are you using underwater? I don’t find the play line Barbie’s very interesting…but I have Serena Von Boo and love her garments! I bought her on EBay, used, so I’ll have to see if she has all her parts. I’ve been thinking about the MH dolls…I have a couple of the newest ones, but I really miss the fierce sassiness and personalities of the early lines. The new ones just seem so…cotton candi-ish. I’m really glad you took some really time off, but equally glad you are back!

    1. I'm not as interested in the new ones because they are revamping all these characters I'm used to seeing be a certain way. I do however love Lagoona because she's completely different and not trying to resemble the original Lagoona because she's not even blue. I own only half of the characters out with G3 currently. I own over 20 from other generations. I'm most upset about Ghoulia's aesthetic changing. She's my absolute favorite. I only just now started collecting MH dolls after loving them for over a decade but I told myself I was too old for dolls at the time so missed out on them. I'm 26 now. The face molds are just really bad for some of the G3 dolls and so are the efforts to stay current with the fashion.


  7. it's amazing how good the mermaids look with their hair flowing in the water like that. gorgeous.

  8. I'm so glad you got a good vacation, it looks like a wonderful time! And those water shots, wow!

    When you first reviewed Avea, I was disappointed you weren't interested in Sirena, as I thought she was the most beautiful of the three, but could hardly fault your choice of a centaur doll. But wow, am I glad you came back to her, she's gorgeous! That was brave to bring her into the ocean too, but for not being manufactured for underwater play, she looked fantastic in there. Some of your most memorable photos to be date. :)

    While it wasn't quite the classic mermaid pose, I think the one you achieve is kinda spooky. Fitting, for a mermaid ghost. :)

  9. I'm so glad you and your husband were finally able to go on a well-deserved vacation! All the underwater pictures are mesmerizing. I love the close-ups your husband made, but my absolute favorite picture is probably the ghostly depths picture of Sirena (or maybe it's the wall of bubbles one, hahaha!) The Barbie dolls are certainly cute and would make for great bath toys. For the average adult collector they're probably not that interesting, but I love how you were able to bond with them through this adventure. The Monster High throwback was just lovely. I don't own Sirena and I never knew she had so many cool details, like the molded pattern on her body and the fin on her back. Mattel at its finest, if you ask me. I also can't wait to see what Lena did all that time. She has such a mind of her own! I bet she experienced some great things on the island.

    By the way, this might sound very weird, but as soon as I started reading the Barbie review I just had a feeling you would lose the narwhal somehow. Is this evidence of my psychic abilities?! I hope he found a good home with some kids on the beach.

  10. Thank You for Wonderful Mermaid review! I enjoyed this underwater adventure vacation & Sirena poses fab! This is Why we luv MH! p.s I actually have few holo glitter tails for my MTM Barbies!;) also coincidentally there are few Mermaids: Bubble-tastic Barbie & Perl&Perry & Lagoona from Great Scarrier Reef (these do have extra *knee joint !;) in a parcel I’m expecting soon!;) lol

    1. I have G3 Lagoona and Swim Class Lagoona. I just started collecting MH dolls. I have 20 some of the first two generations and 4 of the G3: Lagoona, Draculaura, Cleo, and Ghoulia. I'm planning on getting Twyla as well. I'm doing my best to not double up on characters to save money.

    2. g1 Lagoona my fav MH character too! have several but no doubles so far lol think camera action, dance class & pictureday are Best!^^ & g3 are yet to show up in my country so hopefully next year I get new Abbey she looks fab!?💖✨

  11. Lovely post, and so glad about the vacation! -Micah Tithe

  12. I can comment again!! Hooray! What a stellar idea about the underwater doll photos! -Micah Tithe

  13. DVDs still exist!

    I really miss old Monster High, it was my favorite thing for a good couple years.

    1. I still buy DVDs, but they're definitely in a shaky place right now, with stores tragically shrinking their DVD sections. They're so nice to collect and they guarantee an unchangeable release of the product for archival purposes, but at the moment, streaming is discouraging the sale of physical media.

  14. I'm glad you enjoyed your vacation! All of the underwater pictures are so neat.

  15. Is the toddler a Kelly Doll that had been reworked with molded hair? She’s adorable, Kelly had been around for a long time. Love the underwater pics!

  16. Just wanted to say I've recently started reading your blog and really appreciate the wonderfully detailed comparison pictures you take. This review is really special too, it's awesome to see the settings you take dolls into. Thanks!

  17. This is such a fun post, I'm so glad it popped up in my feed! Beautiful and cute pictures, and I'm glad you had an enjoyable trip.