LEGO Friends Heartlake Juice Bar - review

 

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Review by Amelia (age 8) and Claire Paye

A new LEGO Friends box kit is to Amelia as a full glass of wine is to her mother, a sight to gladden the heart!  She dived into the Juice Bar with the aplomb of a professional and assembled it relatively quickly, thoroughly enjoying herself as she did so. 

It’s only once I tried assembling a LEGO-style imitation kit that I appreciated how good LEGO is.  The instructions are very clear and the full colour pictures make it easy to follow.  Separate parts are packaged in discrete packaging, which narrows down the search for the relevant piece, although you could open them all in one go to raise the difficulty level! 

If you haven’t bought LEGO Friends before, the Heartlake Juice Bar is a good place to start.  It is a mid-range price, not too difficult or too easy and offers a relaxing place for the two Friends figures included to hang out as they drink their ONE glass of juice in the day, if they’re following the new guidelines on sugar intake.  They can make full use of the range of accessories, including the juicer, a blender and a cash register. 

We are very happy with the LEGO Friends range as Amelia, who isn’t a particularly girly girl, is actually interested in the items she makes – the houses, shops and animal-related kits which make up Heartlake City.  The Dolphin Cruiser was definitely the most challenging and interesting kit to assemble, and deserved the award of best Construction toy that it won at the 2013 Toy Industry Awards.  I’m also happy with the role model aspect of the Friends, who are just as content working on farms as lounging in beach houses, although I suspect they like the beach house life more.  Or perhaps I’m just projecting my own feelings.  Which is possibly the point of the kits. 

My slight gripe with LEGO Friends is that as the pieces are generally capsule-based, ie you build a bit at a time then assemble it together, it is less challenging than some of the other LEGO ranges.  At the other end of the scale the LEGO Chima items are fiendishly difficult, although they are aimed at a similar age group.  Amelia is equally adept at assembling Chima attack vehicles, but she shows more interest in playing with the LEGO Friends Dolphin Cruiser, swimming pool etc.  Another gripe I have, on a practical level, is that there are all manner of small items such as juicers, flowers, handbags and animals which detach to form their own little world of orphaned pieces or be vacuumed up by mistake. 

LEGO has great potential for imaginary role play, with the Friends popping into each other’s hair salons or Vet clinics, as they often do as I can’t remember which Friend goes with which kit, although Amelia seems to, and the Chima items waging full scale war. 

 

Amelia found the Juice Bar fun to make and fun to fit into her ever-expanding Heartlake City.  The only challenge is whether LEGO can keep up with the pace of demand for new kits.  How about a LEGO Friends theme park kit?  There’s a whole new world. 

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