‘My bears are my lifeline’: the adults who sleep with soft toys | Global | The Guardian

person

If you share your bed with a furry friend well into adulthood, don’t be ashamed – sleeping with soft toys is more normal than you might think. “It’s very common,” says Prof Bruce Hood of the University of Bristol, who has researched our attachment to childhood toys. He tells me that about one in three of the people he has questioned still sleep with teddies, and that it is probably more common for women, as it is more socially acceptable for them to do so.

Why are we hanging on to our cuddly toys? “My hunch is that it’s to do with sleeping practices,” Hood says. In western cultures, we tend to separate children from their parents after the first year – after which they sleep on their own, and self-soothe using blankets and soft toys. “These become part of the sleep ritual.”

It is not unusual for your attachment to soft toys as a sleep aid to persist into adulthood. A survey carried out last year found that 44% of adults have held on to their childhood teddies and dolls, and as many as 34% of adults still sleep with a soft toy every night. Meanwhile, researchers at VU University Amsterdam found that cuddling a soft toy can have a beneficial effect for people with low self-esteem, helping to alleviate their anxieties around death.

“It’s about having a sentimental attachment to things,” Hood says. “It’s completely normal for adults to continue to have these childish attachments.”

He doesn’t see any harm in sleeping with a teddy, provided you’re not obsessive about it. “They provide emotional comfort.” Plus, it is more hygienic than sleeping with a pet. Just don’t forget to bung your teddy in the wash from time to time.

We spoke to three Guardian readers about their furry friends.

Jeff Annells, 68
Receptionist from Banbury




Pinterest

It all started when my uncle won me a big old bear called Brumas, when I was about five. He was named after the famous polar bear who was born into captivity at London zoo. I used to cart Brumas everywhere with me – until one day his head fell off. That sounds very traumatic, but it wasn’t that bad.

When I grew up, I started collecting teddy bears. I have about 60 Steiff and Charlie Bears. I pass out thinking about how much money I’ve spent on them – probably £20,000 over my lifetime.

My favourite bear is a 6ft-tall Charlie bear that I call Big Fella. He’s one of only 100 made worldwide. He cost me about £3,000. Everyone who comes to my house gets a photo with Big Fella. He stands in my corridor. When I was diagnosed with stage four prostate cancer in 2014, Big Fella came into his own. Having cancer is like living in a parallel universe. Everyone is going about their business and you have this thing hanging over you. You never get a break from cancer.

I’m often in a lot of pain. No matter how bad the pain is, I always say good morning to Big Fella when I wake up. My bears are my lifeline. I can say anything to them. I wake up and say: “Christ, I’m in agony this morning.” No one else needs to know that. I say it to Big Fella, and then I get myself ready and go to work and sit on reception smiling at everyone. They’re none the wiser.

I worry a lot about who will inherit Big Fella if I pop my clogs. I keep threatening people with it, saying: “I’ve left you Big Fella in my will.” A look of horror appears on their faces. Seriously, though, I would love for Big Fella to go a children’s hospice. I like the idea of the children being able to confide in him, like I have.

Emily Dove, 26
Personal assistant from Leeds




Pinterest

I got Ted as a present for my 18th birthday from my auntie. He’s a brown teddy bear, about 12 inches tall. I have other soft toys that sit on top of my wardrobe. But Ted is the one who hangs out in my bed and comes with me when I go on holiday.

Ted and I have been to Glastonbury together six times. He normally stays in my sleeping bag. It’s nice to be able to get back to the tent late at night and have a cuddle, especially when it’s quite cold. Last year, going into Glastonbury, Ted got properly searched – I think security thought he was a drug mule! They gave him a good squeeze. Luckily, he didn’t get picked apart or anything like that.

A big part of my love for Ted is that I find it very comforting to cuddle him when I’m going to sleep. He’s been a big part of my bedtime routine for the past nine years. I just like having something to cuddle. I need to have something soft to hold by my body. Recently, I went to London for a few days, and I forgot Ted, so I had to cuddle a pillow instead. It wasn’t the same.

I haven’t had any bad feedback from partners. If they did say anything, I’d say that it’s Ted’s bed as well! I think everyone should have a soft toy of their own. It’s a constant, comforting presence in your life. And if you have a relationship and it ends, at least you still have a teddy to cuddle.

Chris Kirton, 33
Call-centre worker from Sunderland




Pinterest

My girlfriend, Becky, got me into soft toys. She’s a huge soft toy fan – I’m always buying her birthday or Christmas presents from Build-a-Bear Workshop. I spend a fortune in there! When she moves in with me next year I think my spare bedroom will become a bear sanctuary.

There is so much pressure on us all to be adults, and it’s not always the nicest world to live in. It’s nice to forget about your worries for a little while and be a child again.

I bought Squishy for myself from Morrisons last year. He is your classic teddy bear. I bought him as a bit of a joke, initially.

When I’m at home on my own, I’ll talk out loud to Squishy. Just general stuff, like: “What am I going to do today, then?” It’s just a bit of fun. If I’m watching TV or texting people, I’ll have Squishy under one arm.

I enjoy the absurdity of talking to my teddy bear. My job is often very stressful – I’m always having to apologise when I’ve done nothing wrong, and deal with angry, rude customers. After a tough day at work, I can get home and be daft for a few minutes. It takes my mind off things.

Becky and I had been thinking about getting a pet, but I didn’t want to leave an animal unattended at home. Having soft toys gives you some of the comfort of an animal, without the responsibilities associated with it.

Additional reporting by Rachel Obordo

Related posts

Drugs, death and stock trading – what became of the Goonies child stars | Buzz.ie

person

Produced by Steven Spielberg, and directed by Richard Donner, The Goonies has become a Sunday afternoon TV classic – but 35 years on, what has become of its amazing cast?

Child stars may seem to have it all but the pressures – and dangerous opportunities – of fame can be a toxic mix when you’re at an impressionable age.

Adventure comedy classic The Goonies was released in 1985, and the past 35 years have been something of a rollercoaster ride for its young stars Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Corey Feldman, Jeff Cohen, Jonathan Ke Quan, Kerri Green and Martha Plimpton.

And let’s not forget John Matuszak’s memorable turn as Sloth

Some Goonies alumni have managed to maintain steady showbiz careers, some have tasted the dark side of fame, and a few have turned their backs on show business altogether.

24 Martha Plimpton today is barely recognisable as the young girl who lost her glasses in the secret cave (Image: Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Sean Astin (Mikey)

Sean is a Hollywood baby, son of Valley of the Dolls star Patty Duke and adoptive son of her husband – Addams Family star John Astin.

The Goonies was Sean’s first film, and after that, he went on to appear in a string of movies, including War of the Roses, Memphis Belle and Toy Soldiers.

Abuse Sean Astin is still acting today (Image: Warner Bros.)

He achieved new levels of fame when he played Sam in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy forming a lasting bond with co-stars Elijah Wood and Billy Boyd.

Since Lord of the Rings, Sean’s main success has been in TV. He’s added a second string to his acting bow with a number of high-profile voice acting rifles in animated series as well as showing up in Stranger Things, Supergirl, 24 and The Big Bang Theory.

act Sean’s best known for his work in the Lord of the Rings saga (Image: FilmMagic)

Sean’s personal life seems to have been relatively trouble-free. he married former beauty queen Christine Harrell in 1992, taking her Lutheran Christian faith in 2013, and they have three daughters together.

While younger readers may have no idea what The Goonies even was, they’ll know Sean as the voice of Reginald from Minecraft.

Martha Plimpton (Stef)

Martha is another Goonies star who just kept going. As well as starring in hit US sitcom raising Hope she’s appeared in everything from The Good Wife to Frozen II.

She’s had her greatest successes on stage though, receiving three consecutive Tony Award nominations and starring in innumerable Broadway hits.

Like Goonies co-star Sean Astin, Martha also pops up as a character voice in Minecraft.

actor These days, Martha focuses on stage work (Image: Warner Bros)

Corey Feldman (Mouth)

Corey Feldman became an Eighties icon. Alongside his showbiz mate Corey Haim, he appeared in cult vampire movie The Lost Boys as well as its belated sequel The Tribe.

The pair also appeared together in a fictionalised reality show – The Two Coreys – where the pair pursued an Odd Couple relationship with Feldman coming across as relatively clean-living and Haim playing the slob.

age Corey Feldman struggled to cope with the pressures of child stardom (Image: Warner Bros)

Haim’s hedonistic lifestyle caught up with him in 2010 when he died aged just 38. Feldman too has had problems with booze and drugs. By the time he was 19, he’d been arrested three times for heroin.

Feldman has hinted, more than once that the reason he and Haim were driven to drink and drugs was a secret subculture of abuse in Hollywood.

All Corey says that dark forces in Hollywood are out to get him after he spoke out about a paedophile ring (Image: Getty Images)

In 2013, he told US TV’s The View (their equivalent of Loose Women) that a massive organised paedophile ring wielded massive power in the entertainment industry.

Feldman was also a close friend of Michael Jackson, who invited him to his Neverland estate and showered him with expensive gifts. But, he insists, the disgraced star never approached him sexually.

Josh Brolin (Brandon)

amazing Josh is the son of James Brolin, star of the original Westworld (Image: Warner Bros)

A Hollywood wild child, Josh Brolin ran with a rough crowd in his youth. He stole cars to pay for drugs, and had a flirtation with heroin.

He said: “I mean, I never got into it and I never died from it, which is a good thing. I’ve had 19 friends who died. Most of those guys I grew up with, they’re all dead now.”

avengers Josh Brolin grew up with a movie star dad, but had a troubled childhood before finding his feet as an actor (Image: Getty Images)

Brolin survived and went on to have a long and successful career in movies. Debuting in The Goonies he has appeared in No Country For Old Men, Sicario, Deadpool 2 and as Thanos in the massively successful Avengers series of films.

He also has a sideline trading in stocks and shares, and even considered giving up movies for the stock market at one point

Jonathan Ke Quan (Data)

Jonathan was already famous when The Goonies opened, having played Indiana Jones’s sidekick Short Round in the Temple of Doom.

While he continued to act for a while after Goonies, he increasingly used his martial arts knowledge to pick up work as a fight choreographer.

baby Jonathan was the highest-profile member of the Goonies gang when the film opened (Image: Warner Bros)

Kerri Green (Andy)

Kerri, like many of the Goonies stars, made her debut in Steven Spielberg’s treasure-hunting comedy thriller.

But, unlike some of her co-stars, she struggled to sustain her early success. She earned good reviews for her role in romcom Lucas, where she played opposite Cory Feldman’s partner in crime Corey Haim, but after that, the big roles dried up.

Beauty Kerri spends her time writing and directing these days (Image: Warner Bros)

She made a few appearances on TV shows such as Murder, She Wrote and ER, but hasn’t done much acting since the 1990s.

Kerri spends her time behind the camera these days, with her own production company and a series of writing and directing credits.

Jeff Cohen (Chunk)

Jeff was suffering from chickenpox when filing on The Goonies started but kept quiet about it to avoid being dropped from the production.

broadway Jeff worked hard to slim down after The Goonies (Image: Warner Bros)

After the film wrapped, Jeff got heavily into college football in a bid to shed some of Chunk’s weight. He made a few more movies but then, according to a 2014 profile, “puberty hit and forced Cohen into early retirement.”

He moved from acting to entertainment law. Partly, he says, “because I get to go to the parties but I don’t have to audition.”

business Today, Jeff is a hugely successful media lawyer (Image: Getty Images)

John Matuszak (Sloth)

Older than most of the other Goonies stars, Matuszak was already an established American Football player when the call came to play disfigured misfit Sloth in The Goonies.

camera John Matuszak (Sloth) Older than most of the other Goonies stars, Matuszak was already an established American Football player when the call came to play disfigured misfit Sloth in The Goonies.

The makeup, which took five hours to apply every day, disguised his appearance but Matuszak’s own face appeared in countless TV shows such as M*A*S*H, The Dukes of Hazzard, The A-Team and Miami Vice.

Tragically, Matuszak died young – succumbing to a mix of opioids and cocaine in 1989. He was 38.


Want more of the latest news, sport & entertainment? Sign up to our newsletter!:

Related posts

15 Nollywood Actors Who Have Faded Out | P.M. News

person

By Funmilola Olukomaiya

Nigeria’s Nollywood industry has evolved over the years while progressively producing beautiful actors we cannot forget in a hurry.

The industry has enjoyed unprecedented growth over the years and has witnessed a lot of resharpening from what it used to be.

Nollywood had in years back been graced with multitalented actors who once starred on our screens, week-in-week-out; it has also experienced the sudden fading out of some of its best acts, more to the shock of their fans.

Below are 15 Nollywood actors who have faded out of our screens.

1. Susan Patrick

Susan Patrick

Beautiful gap-toothed Susan was born in Akwa Ibom state, she came into the limelight after she acted in the movie ‘Sakobi: The Snake Girl’. This made her one of the most sought after Nollywood actresses in the early ’90s. She was alleged to have snatched another woman’s hubby while a student at Lagos State University (LASU). She eventually faded away as a result of competition for most of the roles she acted.

2. Lilian Bach

Lilian Bach

Famous Nollywood actress and former model Lilian Bach who turned 49 recently was shot to the limelight for her prominent roles in blockbuster movies like ‘Ogidan’ and ‘Married to a Witch’. Lilian was born in Lagos Island to a Yoruba mother and a Polish father.
Lilian came into the limelight as a model in the 1990s when she competed in the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (MBGN) pageant. She also featured in several television commercials and she was at some point the Face of Delta Soap. She took a break from doing movies to pursue a career in production and has faded out since then.

3. Hanks Anuku

Hanks Anuku

Hanks Anuku was a Nigerian actor known for his numerous roles as a villain in many Nollywood films. He used to be the go-to guy when producers needed a perfect movie ‘bad boy.’ Trailed by personal controversies and alleged nonchalant attitude while on location, Hanks has gradually faded out of the movie scene. As of 2017, Anuku was said to have naturalized and become a Ghanaian.

4. Shan George

Shan George

Nollywood diva and movie producer Shan George was well-known the ’90s. The beautiful singer, prior to debuting in the movie ‘Thorns of Rose’, had previously featured in a 1997 soap opera titled ‘Winds of Destiny’. She is best known for her role in the movies ‘Outkast’ and ‘Welcome to Nollywood’.

5. Saint Obi

Saint Obi

Obinna Nwafor popularly known as Saint Obi, is a Nigerian actor, producer and director. As a great actor and Nollywood’s ‘bad’ boy, in the 1990s, hje was often called Nollywood’s Mr Quality because of his attention to details when producing or directing movies. He joined Nollywood in 1995 when he started attending movie auditions and featured in a number of soap operas which aired on NTA after which he was called by Opa Williams to star in a movie. Saint Obi is best known for his roles in Candle Light, Sakobi, Goodbye Tomorrow, Heart of Gold, Festival of Fire, Executive Crime and Last Party.

6. Pat Attah

Pat Attah

Patrick Uchenna Attah popularly known as Pat Attah is a famous Nollywood actor, director, television personality, model and musician. He the Nigerian Movie Industry in 1993 upon graduation and rose to popularity in 1994 after a brilliant performance in the movie “Glamour Girls”. In 2015, Pat became a born-again Christian and relocated with his family to Germany where he is a minister of the Gospel.

7. Sandra Achums

Sandra Achums

Popular Nollywood actress, Sandra Achums in the ’90s was probably one of the most popular actresses in the Nollywood industry. She joined the Nigerian movie industry in 1995 and acted in her first movie Deadly Affair. Her acting skills were excellent as she could interpret any role she was given hence, she was known as the bad girl of the Nollywood industry because she majorly acted as a bad girl, one role she always interpreted well. In the early 2000s, Sandra Achums took a break from acting and decided to face her family as she got married and started having children. She has since relocated to Germany with her family.

8. Charles Okafor

Charles Okafor

Popular Nollywood actor, Charles Okafor is recognized as one of the veteran actors in the Nollywood film industry. He was known in 1996 when he appeared in his first movie ‘Domitilla’ and in 1999, he rose to fame after starring in the blockbuster movie ‘End of the Wicked’. He is currently an ordained pastor.

9. Ejike Asiegbu

Ejike Asiegbu

Ejike Asiegbu is a Nigerian film actor and film director who once served as President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria. He was also previously appointed as personal assistant to former Biafran leader Odumegwu Ojukwu during the 1994 National Constitutional Conference in Abuja. He joined the Nigerian movie industry in 1996 and was shot into the limelight when he acted in his first movie, ‘Silent Night’.

10.

Rita Nzelu

Rita Nzelu is a renowned Nigerian actress, model, television personality who joined Nollywood in 1990. She made her debut in the movie “Living in Bondage”, a movie that brought her to fame and recognition in Nollywood. She is also known for Ortega and His Enemies (2014), Stigma of Womanhood (2016) and Terrible Sin (2001).

11. Ernest Asuzu

Ernest Asuzu

Ernest Asuzu is an actor, known for Last Wedding (2004), Ògìdán (2004) and Broad Day Light (2001). He was known for being dynamic in with his movie characters. Ernest also helped in contributing to the movie industry during his active years. He suffered a stroke in 2015.

12. Victoria Inyama

Victoria Inyama

Nollywood sweetheart, Victoria Inyama, began her acting career with a soap opera titled ‘Ripples’ between 1998/1999. She was featured after she was discovered by Alex Usifo who saw, the talent in her and invited her over for an audition. Victoria is married to the legendary author, Ben Okri. She relocated to the United Kingdom after she got married and this was responsible for her acting hiatus. She recently returned from her acting hiatus to feature in ‘Talking dolls,’ a 2017 movie which was rated as one of the best dramas of contemporary Africa.

13. Ndidi Obi

Nollywood actress, Ndidi Obi became popular when she took the lead role in the movie, ‘Nneka The Pretty Serpent’, she has since then been referred to as ‘Nneka The Pretty Serpent’ because of her epic role in the movie. She was recently featured in Ramsey Noah’s ‘Living In Bondage: Breaking Free’.

14. Nkiru Sylvanus

Nkiru Sylvanus

Nkiru Sylvanus is a famous Nigerian Nollywood actress who was known for her teary eyes and crying roles. Nkiru is one of the Nollywood actresses who created a niche for others to follow and one of the pillars that hold Nollywood firmly. She has acted in more than 150 movies playing minor and leads roles before delving into politics as the Special Assistant on Public Affairs to Rochas Okorocha, former Governor of Imo State.

15. Grace Amah

Grace Amah

Nollywood actress and mother of one, Grace Amah joined the Nigerian movie industry in 1999 when she started her acting career at the age of 13. She made her first debut as a 13-year-old character in the movie ‘Chains’. She became a public figure when she was featured in Teco Benson’s Nollywood blockbuster movie, ‘Elastic Limit’.

Share this:

Related posts

‘I filled a room with My Little Ponies’

BBC Image copyright Laura Kate Shippert
Image caption Laura Kate Shippert has paid hundreds of pounds for a single Blythe doll

Ask yourself which toys are most collectible: train sets, die-cast cars, and – it almost goes without saying – Star Wars figures. The most obsessively collected examples tend to have one thing in common – they were originally marketed at boys.

While these toys aren’t collected exclusively by men, women are less likely to have vast collections of them. So which vintage toys are women seeking out?

Blythe

news Image copyright Laura Kate Shippert
Image caption Blythe pondered on the mysteries of Stonehenge during her visit to the famous stone circle

Thanks to her peculiarly oversized head and bulging eyes that change colour with the pull of a string, not many girls wanted to play with Blythe when she was introduced in 1972.

But Blythe has become strangely popular in recent years and original dolls now sell for between £500 and £2,000, depending on their condition.

“They were only released for a year,” says Laura Kate Shippert, one of the organisers of BlytheCon UK, which was held in Bristol earlier this month. “They failed terribly; people thought they were a bit freaky and scary.”

BBC Image copyright Laura Kate Shippert
Image caption This Blythe doll was lucky enough to see Notre-Dame before the devastating fire

Their popularity in recent years was sparked by a book called This is Blythe, in which photographer Gina Garan featured the dolls artfully posed like real fashion models. Others then started picking up second-hand Blythe dolls – which were relatively cheap at the time – dressing them in glamorous outfits and photographing them in exotic locations.

The renewed interest has led to new Blythe dolls being produced, known in the community as “Neo Blythes” – and these are pretty valuable too.

“They are anywhere from £100 to £400 new, then after a while some become more popular and harder to find, and the prices will fluctuate,” says Laura Kate.

She has 17 Blythe dolls, but only one is an original from 1972. She paid £400 for it about 10 years ago, which was “a steal” even at the time.

news Image copyright Laura Kate Shippert
Image caption This Blythe opted for a classic tourist pose in front of the Eiffel Tower

Laura Kate considers her own collection to be quite small compared to other people’s.

“I know someone who owns like 40 of them and I think ‘but you could own a house’,” she says. “If that’s what makes her happy and that’s what she wants to spend her money on, she’s an adult, she can make her choices. It’s not cocaine.”

My Little Pony

BBC Image copyright Martina Foster
Image caption Martina Foster (right) is known in the pony community as Sparkler, her favourite My Little Pony

The My Little Pony phenomenon began when the toys were launched in 1982. About 150 million ponies were reportedly sold in the 1980s, with their popularity boosted by an animated TV series. Actor Danny DeVito even lent his voice to the 1986 film My Little Pony: The Movie.

Martina Foster loves My Little Pony so much she has a “pony room” in her house filled with somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 of them, worth between £10,000 and £15,000.

Martina was seven years old when she was given her first one – a pony called Tootsie printed with lollipop “cutie marks”. She rediscovered them while searching eBay as a student, then got her old ones out of the loft.

news Image copyright Martina Foster
Image caption These two ponies enjoyed prancing in the sun on a day out at the river
BBC Image copyright Martina Foster
Image caption Dressing up as a pony is encouraged at UK PonyCon, but attendees are not permitted to wear real metal horseshoes

“I thought, ‘I’ll buy the ones that I always wanted, just for fun’,” she says. “Then you get sucked into it.”

Martina says the market fluctuates but rare ones in good condition can now fetch thousands of pounds. The most she has spent is a £200 for a pony called Rapunzel – “a bargain” because it is now worth about £500.

Martina is vice chairman of this year’s UK PonyCon, which is being held in Nottingham this weekend. As well as attracting collectors of the original toys, the convention attracts fans of the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic animated series, which launched in 2010.

news Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption My Little Pony was originally launched in 1982 by Hasbro and has been revived three times since then

While My Little Pony was marketed towards girls in the 1980s, many fans of the animated series are adult men.

“It is fairly watchable even for grown-ups,” says Martina. “You can watch it as an adult and there are some witty things in it and in the end it’s all about friendship and accepting other people.”

Pippa

BBC Image copyright Heather Swann
Image caption Heather Swann photographs her dolls and posts photos online

Pippa was marketed as “the pocket money fashion doll” when she was sold in the 1970s, but Vectis Auctions has sold Pippa dolls for as much as £1,400 in recent years. She and her friends are much shorter than normal fashion dolls at only 6.5 inches (16.5cm) tall, which meant production costs were low.

Heather Swann started collecting them about 20 years ago after picking one up in a charity shop for 50p. She wanted to collect them as a way of recapturing her childhood.

“Isn’t that why people collect toys?” she says.

news Image copyright Heather Swann
Image caption Heather has about 50 Pippa dolls, made by Leicestershire toymaker Palitoy

After Heather’s charity shop find she started buying more dolls through eBay.

“They were much cheaper then, as ladies of a certain age were just beginning to find them,” she says. “Unfortunately they are now becoming expensive and many collectors are after them.”

BBC Image copyright Heather Swann
Image caption Heather says Pippa dolls are becoming more expensive

Heather describes her collection of about 50 dolls as “medium size”, as many women have hundreds. She has seen individual dolls sell for hundreds of pounds but the most she has ever spent is £40.

“I don’t tend to buy the expensive dolls, I now just look out for the ones which need a transformation,” she says. “I enjoy the process of restoring them.”

Care Bears

news Image copyright Jennifer Hawkins
Image caption Jennifer Hawkins’s 200 Care Bears take up so much space in her house she bought a bunk-bed for them

Care Bears were originally painted in 1981 to appear on greetings cards, before the characters were turned into soft toys in 1983. A television series followed, as did books, a plethora of merchandise, multiple LPs and a film in 1985 for which Carole King was persuaded to write and perform songs for the soundtrack.

Jennifer Hawkins loves Care Bears so much she had her favourite one, Bedtime Bear, tattooed on her arm.

“I was looking around earlier and I think I’ve got something Care Bears-related in every room, except my bathroom,” says Jennifer, who lives in Gloucester with about 200 Care Bears.

“But they make me happy so I’m quite happy to have them everywhere. I like the cuteness, I like having the little faces to talk to, I like the fact that they represent different feelings.”

BBC Image copyright Jennifer Hawkins
Image caption Jennifer spent £140 on this 25th anniversary edition of Bedtime Bear

Jennifer got one of her favourites – called Beanie – “as a comfort” when her grandfather died the day after her 14th birthday.

“He [Beanie] comes pretty much everywhere with me now,” she says.

news Image copyright Jennifer Hawkins
Image caption Jennifer had a tattoo of Bedtime Bear sitting on a cloud

She estimates her collection is worth “a few thousand”. The most she spent on an individual bear was £140, which was a 25th anniversary version of Bedtime Bear, and resisted the temptation to spend £500 on an original 1980s Bedtime Bear that was still in the box.

“Unfortunately I can’t afford to spend a month’s rent on one bear,” she says. “That’s definitely a bit too much.”

You might also be interested in:

BBC Image copyright Jennifer Hawkins
Image caption Nearly every room of Jennifer’s house has something Care Bears-related in it

Barbie and Sindy

Barbie was launched in 1959 and swiftly became a cultural icon, gathering fans among each new generation of girls.

Linda Richardson was not one of them. When her mother gave her Barbies, she chopped their heads off.

news Image copyright Linda Richardson
Image caption Most of Linda’s dolls are NRFB – “never removed from box”

“My passion was always cowboys and Indians and motorbikes and all that stuff,” says Linda, who lives in Cumbria. But she now has an “obsession” with dolls and has more than 500, worth about £35,000 at a “conservative estimate”.

Her passion was ignited 15 years ago on a trip to buy presents for her son.

“I saw these Native American Indians and they happened to be Barbies and that just set it off, really,” she says.

She did not buy the dolls at the time but started researching Barbie online and “found a whole new world”.

Most of the ones she buys are aimed at collectors, rather than the typical Barbie dolls made for children. She keeps them protected behind glass doors in a room lined with bookcases.

BBC Image copyright Linda Richardson
Image caption Linda photographs some of her dolls and puts them on Instagram
news Image copyright Linda Richardson
Image caption These Native American dolls ignited Linda’s interest in Barbie

She also has some “de-boxed” dolls she puts in dioramas, photographs and posts on Instagram. “It’s just something to do,” she says. “It keeps me out of trouble.”

Others favour Barbie’s rival, which went on to become the best-selling fashion doll in the UK when it launched in 1963.

Melanie Quint only had one Sindy as a child but now has 60 or 70, worth between three and four thousand pounds.

“I decided to sell all of my childhood dolls and when I looked on eBay I realised there was this massive collecting and restoration community,” she says.

Instead of selling her dolls she ended up buying more.

“It’s nostalgia at the end of the day,” says Melanie. “You look at the face and the doll and the fashions and it takes you back to the way you were when you were a child.”

BBC Image copyright Melanie Quint
Image caption Melanie Quint owns dozens of Sindy dolls
news Image copyright Melanie Quint
Image caption Melanie Quint has 60 or 70 Sindy dolls

Melanie now runs Dollycon UK, which is for collectors of all dolls but has a particular focus on Sindy. A particular highlight is the “hilarious” cosplay competition, where people dress up as particular dolls.

“It’s very tongue-in-cheek,” says Melanie. “They pick some of the weird outfits, the 70s stuff. It’s really funny seeing what they do.

“We had one woman last year who dressed as Action Man Frogman, in a full suit with flippers on. I couldn’t speak, it was hilarious.”

BBC Image copyright DollyCon UK
Image caption The DollyCon cosplay competition is “very tongue-in-cheek”

Related posts