There has been some interesting cooking going on in our house lately.
Broccoli with custard. Sausages and chocolate sauce. Pancakes with baked beans and ice cream.
Luckily for me that’s not some weird pregnancy craving (although sausages and chocolate sauce might be ok?). Instead it’s the imaginary meals that the Wee Man and Bubby D have been busy creating in their new Plum Oxford play kitchen.
I’ve always held off getting a kitchen for them in the past because they tend to be quite large, and we have limited space. This hasn’t stopped them clamouring for one though, as they love playing ‘make Mummy disgusting food’ as well as taking part in imaginary dishwashing, clothes cleaning, sink splashing and crockery stacking. But the Plum Oxford kitchen, which has very reasonable dimensions (55x30x79) looked like it would be fairly versatile in a reasonably small sized way – so when we were offered one to review I gave in, much to the Wee Man and Bubby D’s delight!
It’s a traditional farmhouse style kitchen with tongue and groove style backboard and doors, making it a nice neutral kitchen that both the Wee Man and Bubby D will play with happily.
With two hobs with clickable turning controls, a removable sink, taps, and cupboards with shelf as well as a clock with moving hands, it has a good range of features to keep them occupied for an hour or two of happy playing. It also comes with a wooden frying pan and spatula, plus lidded saucepan and spoon – perfect for them to cook up some truly horrible concoctions for me to try. And at £85, it’s very reasonably priced for a good quality, wooden play kitchen.
It comes flat packed and pre-drilled, with the screws all neatly sectioned and labelled for ease of assembly and comprehensive instructions that were easy to follow. The instructions said that the building process should take around 45 minutes, however I was well underway within 20 minutes and only had to stop because I realised that I had the wrong hinge for one of the doors (they do say to check you have all the right parts before you start but I didn’t pay close attention to which way the hinges were facing when I did that!).
These things happen (and luckily I hadn’t told the kids that I was building the kitchen so they weren’t biting at my ankles desperate to get playing with it) and so I contacted Plum, who were extremely efficient and had a replacement hinge winging it’s way towards us the very same day.
And then the doors were on!
I am impressed with the sturdiness of the kitchen, the quality of the parts and the way it all fitted together smoothly. It’s worth noting that if you are using a power drill it’s best to keep the torque low (or even to use a manual screwdriver) for the plastic door catches as I did manage to crack one slightly – this hasn’t affected it’s operation though. The door hinges too need to be placed completely flush or even slightly overhanging the side of the door, otherwise the doors when opened and shut have a tendency to stick slightly.
The kids didn’t care about the build process, they were just amazed to have their own little kitchen and set about cooking straight away. The kitchen is the perfect height for Bubby D to stand at, and the Wee Man (who at 4 is quite tall for his age) is very happy kneeling in front of it to achieve the ultimate cooking position. Aside from the clicking, movable knobs the kitchen has no inbuilt sounds, unlike several of the plastic variety we’ve seen; but this is not an issue for the kids who are extremely willing to make their own cooking noises!
The fact that no particular use is given to the cupboard doors has been good too – sometimes they are an oven, other times a microwave, a washing machine or a dishwasher. And the Wee Man, who has recently been learning to tell the time, is very pleased with the clock too – he loves moving the hands around and telling me what time it is – the most usual one being ‘dinner time’!
They’ve been bashing it about for a couple of weeks now, and despite pretty heavy use it’s still looking pristine with no signs of wear and tear other than a couple of small paint chips on the spatula.
I’m pretty sure I’ll be experiencing some fairly odd dinnertime concoctions for many months to come.