The Only Porcelain Doll Buying Guide You’ll Ever Need

Porcelain dolls are usually thought of as the ‘historical past’ come to life. There are many doll manufacturers today that make these dolls for collectors, and plenty of people choose to decorate their home with lifelike displays – or buy them for their daughters, like me! However, buying a more modern porcelain doll is very different to buying an antique doll made from vinyl. This guide is the only one you’ll ever need when it comes to choosing a porcelain doll, whether it’s a gift for your daughter, yourself, or somebody else:

Before You Buy a Doll

Before you even look at porcelain dolls, you need to decide what you want to get out of the doll. A buyer needs to know whether the doll will be a collectors item, a decoration, or a toy. Knowing the purpose of the doll will help you pick the perfect one in terms of price, material, and brand. In my daughter’s case, some of her dolls are decorations and others are toys – I choose the kind of doll accordingly. If you’re looking for an original antique porcelain doll, you need to make sure you get proper documentation when you purchase it, so you know that it’s genuine. There are many collector’s editions out there as well as certificates that will prove their authenticity.

Choosing the Perfect Doll

When looking to buy a porcelain doll, it’s important that you buy an authentic porcelain creation – meaning the doll is really made from the material it’s supposed to be made from. Check the doll for markings, material and design, damage, and characteristics – these should help you distinguish the doll genuine from fake.

Identifying Authenticity

There should be a mark from the doll maker on the doll showing it’s authenticity, as doll makers want credit for their work. You may find this on the head, shoulder, neck, or foot. You will also get a certificate for the doll if it is authentic.

Check Material and Design

An antique doll will have painted on hair, while newer dolls will have seemingly real hair rooted on to their heads. Older doll’s clothing styles will be made of leather, while newer dolls will have stuffed bodies with Victorian style outfits.

Check for Damage

Any damage to the doll will bring down the value, so make sure there are no cracks, holes, or rips before purchasing, if doing so second hand.


You’ll be able to tell if a doll is antique or more modern quite easily by looking at the characteristics. Eyes that are set into the doll and don’t move are a characteristic of an 1800’s doll. The characteristics of a doll from the 1800’s and a newer doll will be very different – newer dolls tend to look more lifelike.

With this guide you should be able to decide on the perfect porcelain doll, whatever the occasion. Buying for display purposes means you can afford to buy a fully porcelain, perhaps even antique doll, whereas buying for your daughter like I do will mean you have to be a little careful and choose a soft bodied doll!


Essential Tips for Keeping Your Child Safe Around Water

Teaching your child to swim has a whole host of benefits, and can be a great bonding experience for the two of you. Not only will you be teaching your child a great skill that they’ll use for life, you’ll have loads of fun! Here’s how to teach them the tried and tested way:

Think Confidence, Then Skills

You shouldn’t be in any rush to get your child to swim a length before teaching them water confidence. That’s not to say that your child couldn’t be a great swimmer, it’s just that pushing them too hard can hinder their progress and even put them off swimming forever! If your child learns to love water then it’s possible they’ll develop a swimming habit that will last forever!

Don’t Over Teach

Skills should be encouraged over a certain amount of time without trying to give them too much instruction in one go. Children need to learn and explore for themselves, so there should be more learning than teaching.

Make It Fun

Swimming should be a fun and playful activity, so make sure you always talk about going swimming in a way that doesn’t make kids think they’re having a lesson. Storytelling and songs can be a great way to help get messages about swimming across. Splash About have some great tips and tricks on how to do this!

Don’t Use Aids

In a pool where a child who can’t swim and is out of their depth you’ll need to give them constant support. I don’t recommend you ever take your attention off them anyway, so this shouldn’t be a problem. Buoyancy aids are counterproductive, as they don’t allow your child to explore their own buoyancy in the water. Finding a natural balance is made difficult, and they teach a child that they need them to float when they don’t!

Getting in the Pool

At first, you’ll have to teach your child how to get in the pool safely by climbing backwards down the ladder. However, when they’re happy to get their face in the water you can teach them to jump in!

Hold Your Child But Don’t Hold them Up

It’s tempting to hold your child so they’re on top of the water, but this way you’re holding their weight and not teaching them anything. Simply use your hands to guide them and reassure them. Dress them in an all in one costume as these are easy to hold.


You and your child should have fun splashing each other, and use different plastic toys like cups and watering cans to get water over their face. This should be encouraging them to put their face in the water. You also need to teach them how to hold their breath as they hit the water.

Dealing with Anxiety

Some children are scared of going totally under the water, and this is totally normal, although it can take patience to help them overcome it. Don’t talk about them putting their face in the water, as the more you talk about it the more importance you attach to it. When they eventually get their face wet make sure you praise them. However, if they end up getting upset, don’t comfort them because you’ll reinforce that something bad has happened.

Be patient with your child, don’t push them too hard, and simply concentrate on having lots of fun!



A Guide to Choosing Your Next Timepiece: For Females

A watch is a must have accessory for any female; it can help to dress up an outfit that looks a little bland, make an outfit pop, make our wrists look pretty, and also help us to tell the time (for when our smartphone runs out of power that is). Watches still have a place in today’s modern society, so if you don’t have one you’re missing out. With so many watches out there, it can be difficult to choose just one watch – that’s where this guide comes in. Ladies, choose your next timepiece with ease by using this guide:


First you need to consider your budget. If this is a birthday present or a gift from someone for a special occasion, it can be a little harder to set a budget as you don’t usually feel as if you can come straight out and ask them. You can find quality watches for under £100 depending on the brand you choose and where you decide to get it from, but then again you could spend a few hundred, or even a few thousand – it all depends on how much you’re willing to spend on your new accessory. Most lower end designer watches range from £100-£300, while brands like Rolex and Breitling will set you back thousands.

Leather or Metal?

What kind of material suits you best? A watch that looks great on your best friend won’t necessarily look great on you. You need to decide on the material that’s most comfortable and suits the kinds of things you enjoy wearing. A metal watch in silver or gold can look great when complemented with similar jewellery and going out/smart casual outfits, while a leather strapped watch can look lovely for everyday wear and is comfortable too. Shinola watches are a lovely choice for somebody who wants something understated but timeless.

Your Wardrobe

What do you have in your current wardrobe? You want your watch to be as versatile as possible, so it’s important that it goes with the majority of your outfits and accessories. There’s nothing to say you can’t be a little different with your choice of watch, but you might regret it when you realise it doesn’t match anything else you own. If you prefer to wear silver jewellery, then you’ll likely feel more comfortable in a silver watch. If you prefer to wear warmer coloured clothes, then gold would probably look best. A leather strapped watch can go with almost any outfit!

Dressy or Casual?

What do you want the watch for? Is it a watch for special occasions, a watch you can wear every day, or a watch you can throw on for any occasion? A dressier watch might include gems and special features like a mother of pearl dial, while a casual watch might be very understated and almost ‘plain’ (but still pretty).

By carefully considering these points, your watch will look amazing with anything you choose to wear. Let us know how watch shopping went in the comments!


What Would You Consider To Be A Female-Friendly Car Dealership?

For some reason, it can be a genuinely intimidating and sometimes terrifying experience for a lone female to walk into a car showroom with a view to purchasing a new car. Although being sexist is illegal in many countries around the world (it is a form of discrimination), the ugly truth is that this still happens even today.

Many “old school” car dealers think that only men should buy cars and that women should be at home cooking and looking after the children. This kind of sexist and backwards attitude towards gender equality is something that, unfortunately, can still be seen in many car dealerships.

Even if the women concerned are high-flying businesswomen and have done a fair amount of research on the cars they want to buy, I’ve seen a lot of examples where such women are treated with little respect by the car salespeople that they talk to.

The news isn’t all bad, however. This is because there are a growing number of “female-friendly” car dealerships that women can visit without feeling intimidated or being disrespected by sexist salesmen. But what would you consider to be a female-friendly car dealership? Here are some of my thoughts on the matter.

Honest car salespeople

I know a lot of people think that honesty and sales are two words you would never see in the same sentence unless it is a negative observation about salespeople, but one thing that women find very important when it comes to deciding where to buy their car from is how honest the salespeople are in the dealership.

All too often, many old-fashioned car salespeople see women as a soft target and will try their best to sell them all sorts of unneeded optional extras for the cars they are interested in buying, and these salespeople stereotypically think that men know what they want from a car more than women.

When you walk into a trusted car dealership such as Chelmsford Toyota, you will immediately notice that the salespeople do not treat women any differently to men, and actually listen to their potential customer’s requirements rather than trying to sell them something they don’t want!

Gender-friendly environments

I remember walking into a car dealership once and was shocked to see topless girls in calendars being displayed in the main showroom area where some of the sales advisers’ desks were!

A car dealer that both women and men would be happy to visit is going to be one that is a gender-friendly environment.

The smarter car dealers know that they aren’t going to make much money by treating women as stupid people, for example, so it’s in their interests to cater for a variety of customers whether they be women, men, disabled people, fleet managers or millionaires!

I consider a gender-friendly environment to be one where it is obvious the dealer has taken great steps to ensure that the staff they employ are both female and male, and that none of the males employed treat women like they were second-class citizens.