Saturday, 29 August 2009

The Big Bear Adventure

This weeks Saturday review is of our visit to the Build A Bear Workshop.

ModelGirl and I have been before but this was a first time treat for FunnyGirl who had only visited the store to buy clothing for the panda that she had been given for Christmas.

Luckily the store was quiet when we arrived which made the whole experience a whole lot more enjoyable. The girls were told that they could choose any bear and a full outfit so they were pretty excited.

This gave us quite a problem as there were too many bears to choose from! ModelGirl being the bunny lover that she is settled for a rabbit (after picking up and putting down just about every other available option!).
FunnyGirl - as we know, has a bit of a thing for Pandas - but her lovely big sister had already made her this one, so she really was in a pickle about which one to choose.

A good fifteen minutes later she settled on the Hello Kitty. ModelGirl already has this one at home but as we have a joint collection of Hello Kitty stuff - it's more the merrier.
After choosing their bears - the girls had to decide which sounds that they would like to put in them. As with the bears, there are lots to choose from including the option to record your own message. This is great if you are making a bear as a gift for someone - and when ModelGirl made the panda for FunnyGirl's Christmas gift last year this is what she went for, recording a message that said; "I Love you Boo Boo!"
Yes, it brings a tear to your eye - but none of that for us today - it was Hannah Montana and I Love you - all the way!

On to Stuff Me!
You get to choose how cuddly you want your bear to be from soft, cuddly or big and fat and you step on the peddle that starts the stuffing machine. They also pop in a bar code that registers your bear to you. This means that if you and your beloved bear get parted and returned to one of the Build A Bear Stores then they will know who the lost bear belongs to.
A good idea in theory but I have to wonder how many people would know that the lost bear had come from a Build a Bear Workshop and that if they took him in he would be reunited with his lost child? Good marketing though.

Before the stuffing is completed you get to choose your bears heart, rub it in your hands and fill it with love and wishes before it gets stitched up inside.
A free heart comes with the cost of the bear but you can also choose a charity heart for £1 or a cool beating heart for £4.
Next you are on to the Fluff Me station - you put your bear into a bath and he is showered with air to fluff him up and make him snuggly, after a little brush he is good to go.
If you are building a bear on a budget - or if it's for a gift then now is a good point to quit. You still get the little house box, birth certificate and access codes to get onto the interactive Build-A-Bearville site but it is so easy to bust your budget when you get to the dressing stage.

Clothing and accessories take up at least half of the store. There are complete outfits, mix and match separates, accessories and just about ever themed costume you could think of from SpiderMan (great mask!) to a Beefeater and a surgeon to a cheerleader.
Clothes start at £3.50 for a basic T shirt and go up to £12 for one of the complete outfits. You can accessories to your hearts content with wigs, glasses, mobile phones, roller skates, boots and high heels. Then there is the wardrobe to keep all of your new friends gear in one place, or the bed, stroller or bear carrier. I could go on....

The girls had a really good time making their bears, a trip here is a lovely treat. It's not all girlie though - there are some things that would appeal top boys but TotallySonny was not interested in the slightest!

Some of the Build A Bear Workshops host birthday parties from £8 per head, they would definitely be a contender if we had a local store as I hate the endless stream of same old parties each year. Not too bad if you have one child but times it by three and the odd bit of excitement goes a long way!
Bears range from £8 to £18, sounds £2 - £5 and hearts free to £4.

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