Paola Reina dolls

Emily and the hyacinths: Introducing Las Reinas Lidia

Paola Reina Las Reinas Lidia

Emily (Paola Reina Las Reinas Lidia) as she arrived, after being straightened and re-attached to her box.

I first discovered the 60 cm (23.6 in) “Las Reinas” Paola Reina dolls through a review by The Toybox Philosopher (see link on right sidebar) of the Marta doll in March. It was her description of Marta as an “epic doll,” in addition to some gorgeous photographs of Alma, Mei, and Lidia posted on My Doll Best Friend’s Facebook page that sold me on the line. It was difficult, however, to choose my Las Reinas doll. Lidia’s rose-colored arrival outfit including a delicate open-front sweater (I love doll sweaters!) and wholesome beauty finally settled the question. Lidia has sparkly brown eyes (the same as Marta’s) and rich chestnut hair, and I love her coloring. I may have to buy a sister for her sometime, though, and will definitely consider Mei and Sandra as second choices! I purchased Lidia from My Doll Best Friend in the UK, as the Paola Reina America website wasn’t yet operational. My Doll Best Friend is happy to ship overseas, and although the shipping was expensive for such a large item, it was worth it. Lidia arrived within a week! Unfortunately, a rough transit caused her to somehow pop out of the elastic ties securing her to her packaging, and she arrived crumpled at the bottom of her box. Thank goodness she was undamaged except for a rub-mark on her lovely mouth, probably sustained by vibrating against the front window of her box. Thankfully the texture and shine of her lips hide the flaw, and it really doesn’t show up in photographs. I wasn’t about to send her all the way back across the ocean for something like that!

Since The Toybox Philosopher has done such a thorough review of this brand of doll, I will just add my impressions here, and introduce you to Emily, as I renamed Lidia. This is the first time I’ve ever had a doll of this size in my collection, and it took me a day or two to get used to her height, and especially the size of her head and face. The size of her head is appropriate for her height, but after having American Girl dolls for years it seemed huge, especially with all that voluptuous hair! I also noticed that she had a slightly upward gaze–she simply cannot look down without falling over. Once I got used to this, I began to find it rather appealing, as it makes her seem hopeful and eager to help. Another thing I noticed is that her lovely hair, originally styled in layered waves, immediately lost some of its curl in our dry climate. I’ve had other curly-haired dolls who have not had this problem, but this is my first experience with nylon hair. I’m guessing Emily’s hair relaxation has something to do with the way nylon fiber retains its curl. It still has plenty of body and a soft shape, so I’m satisfied with it.

My favorite things about this magnificent doll are her presence, her beauty, and her fragrance. Her size makes her feel even more like a real companion than my other dolls, and her intelligent, sweet, loving, hopeful expression is both consoling and endearing. Her coloring is exquisite. The vinyl is a lovely rosy shade, less yellow than that of American Girl dolls. Her hair is wonderfully lustrous and thick, though it has taken me a while to get used to the texture of the nylon. Each strand seems to have a microscopically crimped texture, making her hair less shiny that that of my American Girl dolls. I can’t run my hands through her hair like I can that of my other dolls, and it seems to resist the wire brush somewhat as well. I’ve had success brushing it section by section with a large wire brush, but it takes patience, and I can imagine this might prove somewhat difficult for a child. It is securely rooted, and I’ve noticed very little hair loss. The color is just gorgeous: it truly glows in the sun, and seems very lifelike.

As far as I’m concerned, Emily’s vanilla fragrance is one of the best things about her. I was surprised by how powerful it was at first! Having this doll in the room is like having a softly-scented candle burning. It actually smells like a batch of sugar cookies is baking in the oven. I think giving a doll a scent like this is a stroke of brilliance on the part of Paola Reina. This is a doll that satisfies all the senses: not only is she beautiful to look at and pleasant to hold and touch, but she even smells wonderful. It is as if all your senses are telling you that this doll is truly wholesome. If her vanilla perfume makes me want to hug and kiss her, what would it be like for a child? I don’t know yet whether her fragrance will fade over time, but I’ve had her about a month now, and I still notice the scent whenever I have her near me in a room.

Ali holding Las Reinas Lidia doll

Emily satisfies all the senses!

I love Emily’s height, size, coloring, poseability, and the quality of her arrival outfit. My only issues with this doll are that she didn’t arrive in undies (and she’s wearing a skirt!), that her chain necklace does not have a clasp and therefore cannot be removed without being cut or broken, and that her vinyl is a bit harder and lighter-feeling than that of my other dolls. Since I associate hard vinyl with cheaper-quality products, this weighs a little against the detail of her face and outfit and reminds me that she is, indeed, intended to be a child’s toy and not a collectible. So far I’m quite happy with her articulation. I especially adore her beautiful hands and how her wrist joints allow them to turn. Her head joint seems just a tad loose to me, as does her left wrist, but these are small issues. Her knee joints do seem prone to buckling when she’s standing with her full weight on them, and I’ve found it a bit difficult to stand her up in a natural position. However, I’m glad she has knee joints, and ankle joints too! It just takes a bit of practice to get used to posing such a large doll.

I also wish that Paola Reina had a larger selection of outfits for this range of dolls! So far there are only a few outfits that I’m aware of, and they’re rather pricey and so far only available in Europe (I haven’t yet seen them listed on the Paola Reina America website). Since this doll is much larger than all my other dolls, I either have to wait for Paola Reina to make a full wardrobe, or learn to make clothes for her myself. Skirts should be easy, but I’m not an experienced dressmaker. Maybe if these dolls gain in popularity we’ll begin to see handmade outfits for them popping up on Etsy. I hope so! This is a girl who deserves clothes as lovely as she is.

And now, I’d like to introduce you to Emily by way of a little photo story:

As the review on The Toybox Philosopher pointed out, the Las Reinas dolls have a way of asserting themselves. Emily is a very loving and gentle person, who is eager to comfort and to help others–but, as I soon learned, she can also be a little obstinate at times! Emily loves flowers, and soon after she arrived, I took her out into the garden. Right away she was struck by the tall grasses left from last season, that I haven’t yet pulled out of my spring garden.

Paola Reina Las Reinas Lidia doll

She saw there was plenty of work to be done, but she also noticed the artistry of the dry stalks:

Paola Reina Las Reinas Lidia doll

I showed Emily the bird garden near where we feed the wild birds, and she loved seeing the little green leaves of the echinaceas poking up out of the mulch.

Paola Reina Las Reinas Lidia doll

Then she saw the barrel of cranesbill, tulips and grape hyacinths.

Paola Reina Las Reinas Lidia doll

She was very excited and asked to be helped up to smell the hyacinths.

Paola Reina Las Reinas Lidia doll

I told her that the metal chairs, dirty from a winter outdoors, would possibly get her pretty pink tights and shoes dirty, but she insisted.

Paola Reina Las Reinas Lidia doll

Well, what can one do? I helped her kneel on the chair so she could see the flowers better. However, she wasn’t satisfied until she could actually smell one of the hyacinth blossoms.

Paola Reina Las Reinas Lidia doll

Dolls can be so demanding sometimes! Sure enough, her tights and shoes were smudged by the dirty chair.

Dirty knees Paola Reina Las Reinas Lidia doll

Luckily, it was easy enough to remove her tights and dab away the smudges with a solution of laundry detergent and warm water. I used non-acetone nail polish remover to get the smudge off her shoes. The outdoor chairs have been washed now that I know how insistent she can be! Emily adores the garden, and will want to spend a lot of time out in it. I only wish we had more flowers here for her to enjoy.

Paola Reina Las Reinas Lidia doll

In your Easter bonnet…

“… With all the frills upon it/ You’ll be the grandest lady in the Easter parade…”

Happy Easter from A Doll’s Picnic !

doll collection, Kidz 'n Cats dolls, Paola Reina Las Reinas Lidia doll, American Girl dolls, Gotz Happy Kidz dolls, A Girl For All Time Matilda doll, Bitty Twin doll

Happy Easter!

As any collector knows, a collection is dynamic and ever-changing, not static. This is my current doll collection as of this moment on this particular day, but tomorrow it might be a little different. This is only a fraction of the dolls I have bought, given away and sold over the the course of the last several years. It is important to me to keep only the dolls I am most interested in and passionate about.

collection American Girl dolls

“…with all the frills upon it…”

Some pretty hats and faces:

American Girl Cecile, American Girl Caroline

Zelie (American Girl Cecile) and Henriette (American Girl Caroline with customized eyes).

American Girl Felicity doll

Fanny Rose, the matriarch of my collection (American Girl Felicity).

Paola Reina Las Reinas Lidia doll

Emily (Paola Reina Las Reinas Lidia doll).

American Girl Felicity doll

Such a pretty Easter bonnet!

American Girl of the Year 2014 Isabelle

Ashleigh (American Girl of the Year 2014 Isabelle).

Paola Reina Las Reinas Lidia doll

That’s a lovely face!

Pleasant Company Felicity doll

Melinda: a very special face (Pleasant Company Felicity).

The new dolls tea party

It was a lovely workday evening in early spring, and Ali was eager to take a break from chores. She asked the dolls if they would like to have a tea party on the back patio, and they happily agreed. Emily, one of the newest family members, was nominated by group consent as “Queen Mum,” both as a token of respect for her stature as the tallest doll in the family, and as a gentle pun on her identity as a Paola Reina “Las Reinas” (“queens”) doll. The dolls agreed that this party was to be attended by all the newest dolls in the collection, to help Ali get to know them better. The blankets were quickly spread, the tea was brewed, and the dolls arrived.

Dolls tea party

Emily poured out. She had arrived only a few days before, along with Beatrix. The other dolls were at first awed by her beauty and majestic stature and the fact that she came express all the way from the United Kingdom! Their awe was soon transformed to affection when they observed the extreme sweetness and graciousness of her manners. They all felt her English accent was charming.

Las Reinas Lidia doll, Gotz Happy Kidz Sophie doll, Pleasant Company Felicity doll

The conversation was diffuse as the girls sipped their hot tea (white peach!). With gentle poise, Emily offered gingersnaps and graham cookies, and then turned to Caoimhe. “May I refresh your cup?”

Las Reinas Lidia doll, Kidz 'n Cats Rieke doll

Caoimhe had a name everyone could pronounce (KEE-va) but hardly anyone could spell! She had arrived on St. Patrick’s day, so Ali had chosen a true Irish name for her. Heather the JellyCat pup sat patiently between Emily and Caoimhe, hoping for a cookie! When any of the dolls looked her way, her tail began wagging, but she stayed quietly seated.

Beatrix, the other brand new doll, sampled her gingersnap. She had made the trip with Emily from London, and she too spoke with an English accent.

Gotz Happy Kidz Sophie 2012 doll

“These gingersnaps are delicious!”

Beatrix loved gardening, and she was particularly excited to come live in a place so full of nature.

Meanwhile, Georgette tuned to Mary. “May I please pet your lamb?”

Kidz 'n Cats Tinka doll and Anne doll

“Of course!”

Georgette was so excited to touch the lamb’s soft wool, that she accidentally upset her tea cup. She surveyed the mess with distress.

Kidz 'n Cats Anne doll

She blushed. “I’ve spilled my tea!”

“Never mind,” said Emily kindly. “Here’s a napkin. Please pass her cup, Melinda, and I’ll pour her a new one.”

Las Reinas Lidia doll, Gotz Happy Kidz Sophie doll, Kidz 'n Cats Rieke doll

After passing the cup, Melinda turned to Matilda, who was rather quiet and a bit shy.

“Have you heard that two new dolls are on their way?”

A Girl For All Time Matilda doll and Pleasant Company Felicity doll

“Yes, indeed! I heard it from Ali. A Gotz doll and a Schildkroet doll, isn’t that right?”

“Yes! I’m so looking forward to meeting them both.” Melinda had recently retired from a career as a model  for a doll clothes retailer, and so was particularly happy to be living in a family with lots of sisters to visit with. “That’s such a pretty dress, Matilda,” Melinda added. “It suits you so well.”

“Thank you. It is handmade and came all the way from a dressmaker in Singapore!”

Caoimhe suddenly spoke up. “Do you see that tree over there?”

Kidz 'n Cats Rieke doll

“Where?” they all asked together.

“Over there.”

Kidz 'n Cats Rieke doll

“Isn’t it beautiful? I think it’s a plum.”

“I see it,” said Emily. “It is lovely.”

Paola Reina Las Reinas Lidia doll

“Isn’t April the most beautiful month?” said Mary to Georgette. Mary was not very talkative, but perfectly friendly once you got to know her, and rather thoughtful. Meanwhile her lamb, feeling a little frisky, was trying to reach Mary’s cup of tea.

Kidz 'n Cats Mary doll and Anne doll

Melinda turned to Beatrix. “What a nice bag!”

Pleasant Company Felicity doll and Gotz Happy Kidz Sophie doll

“Thanks! It came with my outfit. It is nice, isn’t it?”

Dusk was coming on and all the dolls knew it was just about time to go in. They finished their tea and cookies and admired the evening light settling on the pines. Heather the pup was resting in Caoimhe’s lap.

Kidz 'n Cats Rieke doll and JellyCat Heather Blossom pup

“Time to clear up!” Emily said at last. “Let’s have another party when the new dolls arrive, shall we?”

“Definitely!” the girls agreed, and set to clearing up the cups and plates.

“There’s nothing quite as lovely as an afternoon tea party in spring,” said Mary to Matilda, who shared her interest in literature. “It reminds me of that beautiful passage in The Secret Garden when Mary and Dickon take Colin into the garden for the first time, and they have tea under the blossoming plum tree. I always love to imagine that scene.”

Emily is a Paola Reina Las Reinas Lidia doll; Beatrix is a Gotz Happy Kidz Sophie 2012 doll; Melinda is a very special original Pleasant Company Felicity doll; Georgette is a Kidz ‘n Cats Anne doll; Mary is a Kidz ‘n Cats Tinka doll; Caoimhe is a Kidz ‘n Cats Rieke doll; Matilda is from the doll line A Girl For All Time; Heather is a JellyCat Heather Blossom pup. Matilda’s dress was made by Swish and Swirl, and purchased on