Until recently our garden was a bit of a wreck, something we have been meaning to rectify ever since we moved into our house four years ago. With four children and a dog, our grass had gone to ruin and, thanks to the great British weather, we were left with a great big mud bath and a completely un-usable space. Last month we decided it was time to take the plunge, dig up the garden, and finally splash out on the artificial grass we had spent the last four years lusting after. And honestly, it was the best thing we ever did.
Obviously it’s a work in progress and yet, with the new grass down, there was just one thing the children wanted – a playhouse!! And thanks to Big Game Hunters, they got exactly that.
For those who haven’t heard of the self proclaimed ‘Play Experts’, they are passionate about outdoor games and play equipment. With extensive knowledge in this field, creating and designing products that both children and parents will love, they have the most amazing range of items from simple garden games to large feature play pieces.
We decided to opt for one of the larger play houses, The Crooked Mansion, as with three children I wanted to be sure that, not only would it fit them all inside but, it would grow with them over the years.
The Crooked Mansion comes flat packed, delivered promptly and with excellent customer service, and was super easy to construct. With every piece clearly labelled, and all screw holes pre-drilled, my Dad managed to built it entirely by himself, with me ‘supervising’ from the kitchen window. I’ll be sharing a video of the construction over on my YouTube channel this coming week.
Made from premium Fir wood for natural strength and durability, it is pre-painted in a gorgeous dark rose pink colour, with a stained chimney stack and wooden roof. The roof is the only part that wasn’t pre-treated, although we will be staining it this summer so to protect it all year round.
The Crooked Mansion itself is a homely and spacious playhouse, with lots of lovely features to add real charm and character. The playhouse has a tall front door, perfect for growing children, a fun porthole and three large windows.
The windows have adorable flower boxes beneath them where you can either plant flowers or place little plant pots inside. We are planning to plant our own flowers and yet for now the children have been using the boxes in their pretend play, using them as a shop counter, storage on their ice cream truck, or the sink for washing hair at the hairdressers. It’s amazing listening in to their games and how no two days are ever the same.
The two large windows open outwards and close with soft close magnetic fittings. In a contrasting white they look so pretty and are also really well made for children who get a little enthusiastic with opening and closing them!
The girls especially loved the letter box, screwed to the front of the Mansion, where they can place the notes they write each day for each other. It’s funny how important those small details and that’s something I love about Big Game Hunters, they really have thought of everything.
There is also a chalkboard name plaque above the door where you can name the playhouse as many times as you like. So far we’ve had a supermarket, a hair salon, a gymnastics hall and my personal favourite, Dove Cottage.
The playhouse is lovely and spacious, measuring H 183 x W 180 x D 120cm giving so much room to play. There is an option to buy a wooden floor for the playhouse, priced at £79.99, but with having the artificial grass we decided it was un-necessary and a softer landing for three very accident prone children. As you can see, the children have really set up home in there with their wooden kitchen and a small table and chairs.
With a large slanted apex roof at a maximum height of 183cm, there is so much room to stand up inside meaning the playhouse will last them for as long as they need it to. I’ll be honest with you, after the initial excitement of the playhouse I assumed, quite wrongly, that the novelty would wear off. But the truth is they have used it every single day since, regardless of the weather, and in that way my only regret is that we didn’t buy them one sooner.
I am so impressed with the Crooked Mansion Playhouse, and the children are over the moon with it. It has been lovely to watch them during imaginative play, or cosying up with a book or a picnic. At four, five and six I think we will have years of fun with it and, even when they outgrow their childish play, I’m sure it will make a great hideaway when they need a little time out….or I do!!
Currently on offer at £399 it does retail at a little more than plastic alternatives, or cheaper imitations. That said, I absolutely believe that it is worth every penny for the quality and workmanship that has gone into it, and for those lovely little details that may not seem like a big deal to us, but to the children are completely essential. We may not quite have finished our garden makeover but Dove Cottage is most definitely going to be our favourite feature!
** We were gifted this item for the purpose of this review. All words and opinions are my own **