Marvellous Maileg Mouse Review!

Have you heard of Maileg? Maileg (pronounced “My’lye”) are an award-winning Danish toy company that produces gorgeous, swoon-worthy soft toys with a nostalgic, storybook appeal. We’ve been ogling them for quite a while, so we were beyond thrilled to receive a parcel the other day containing a beautiful Maileg ‘Big Sister’ Mouse, complete with matchbox bed, that was kindly sent to us for review by One Hundred Toys. If it’s possible to create Hygge in toy form, a Maileg Mouse must be it! Read on to find out why.

Maileg Mouse - Big Sister - sitting in oversized matchbox bed

Maileg’s Big Sister mouse comes complete with her own giant matchbox bed!

We tend to buy two types of toy in our house. First, there are toys ‘of the moment’, that are often inspired by the kids’ current obsessions. These are toys that we know, deep down inside, even as we shell out our hard-earned cash for them, will end up at the charity shop or passed down to younger friends before very long. Then there are the toys that, we hope, will become childhood treasures – the toys they’ll love, play with constantly, and keep forever and ever (or at least until the next generation comes along to receive them into their sticky little paws). Maileg toys definitely fit into this latter category.

Girl playing with maileg mouse 'Big Sister'

Maileg’s Big Sister sleeps on a linen mattress in a giant matchbox.

Beautiful Packaging

Each Maileg toy is made from natural materials like linen and cotton. Our Big Sister Mouse has suede-soft ears and tail, and lovely hand-sewn details such as her stitched eyes, nose and smile. She arrived tucked up in a giant matchbox bed (complete with linen mattress, pillow and a teeny, tiny blanket), and dressed in a polka-dotted red dress that I’m sure T-Bird would be quite happy to wear herself. Underneath the dress (as T-Bird was quick to find out – casual nudity is de rigueur for all her toys) she has a stripy linen beany body that enables her to sit up rather nicely when it’s time for tea.

Maileg mouse dress and child playing with mouse toy

If a toy is wearing clothes in our house, it never wears them for long…

Big Sister Mouse is a great size for play – big enough to be a friendly playmate, and small enough to be tucked into a child’s pocket or bag when going out and about. I have to say I love the size – it’s pretty much perfect in that she’s little, like T-Bird expects a mouse to be, but also big enough to have a definite personality.

Maileg mouse Big Sister tucked up in her matchbox bed

When play is finished, Maileg’s Big Sister can be tucked neatly away in her bed!

The Maileg Mouse Family

The other mice in the Maileg family vary in size – the smallest are the ‘baby’ mice and, naturally, ‘Mother’ and ‘Father’ – in their cigar-box bed – are the biggest. The different sizes are a nice touch – it always annoys me (though probably not the kids!) when toys are out of proportion to each other. There’s a range of characters making up extended family, including (so cute it’s almost unbearable) ‘Grandma and Grandpa Mouse’, top ‘n’ tailing it in their long matchbox bed.

Maileg Mother and Father mouse in an oversized cigar box bed

Mother and Father Maileg Mouse get the big box bed!

Maileg Mouse Grandpa and Grandpa top n tail in long matchbox bed

Grandma and Grandpa Mouse from Maileg make the cutest cross-generational toys.

Within a very short time of arrival, once the empty courier box had been converted into the obligatory car racer, T-Bird was playing happily with her little mouse friend. K-Dog remarked that what was so lovely about this toy (apart from the self-contained storage functionality of the bed-box – he’s big on putting things away!) is that she seems to come with a story – just opening up that matchbox to find her sleeping inside sparks the imagination in a way which makes you think of Enid Blyton books or Mary Norton’s The Borrowers, and they would fit right in with Bagpuss and his friends. It’s a secret world where toys come to life, ready to play and make stories with their child companions.

Little girl putting Maileg mouse to into matchbox bed

Time for bed! Looking after her little mouse, practicing empathy.

Pretend Play and Picnics

These little mice definitely have more play value than many soft toys where the emphasis is more on providing comfort. Big Sister mouse is certainly capable of being used that way, but has so much character she almost demands more involved play! It didn’t take long for T-Bird to scavenge up some accessories from her other toys, and then demand we make some more, just for Big Sister! With our trusty supply of wine corks (it’s hard work, making sure that stash is always full), we rustled up a picnic for her. Mice surely love cheese and cake, so they were first on the list, and then we got carried away and made a whole feast!

Maileg mouse toasting marshmallows over miniature campfire

Marshmallows over the campfire and a yummy picnic of cake and cheese!

That lead to a campfire – for the marshmallows, naturally, and that lead in turn to the request for a tent. Because you can’t have a campfire without a tent, mummy! So I whipped up* this sweet little Mouse-House Bell Tent (we’re Bell Tent obsessives in this house – I’ve been promised one of our own for next summer, but for now this will have to do!), and Big Sister was finally all set.  At least for now…

Maileg mouse sitting outside toy bell tent

That’s not glamping, that’s camping with style!

*This is a lie – the tent took a whole evening and involved much wine and bad language. I will post a tutorial soon, but as it was meant to be a quick throwaway thing, I stupidly didn’t take pictures while making it. So now I’ll have to make another one *sigh!*  I will definitely need to stock up on the vino first though…

Child's hand feeding mini marshmallows to Maileg mouse

Eat up your marshmallows!

Close up of Maileg mouse Big Sister in front of toy bell tent

Beautiful little details – look at that nose!

Storybook Toys

It’s lovely to be able to extend the play with simple bits like this, and the fact that many of the mice come with their own bed-boxes is a great start. Maileg also do a number of other, more elaborate sets for even more fantastical storytelling – my particular favourite is the circus set, which consists of three circus mice and a polka dot tent. T-Bird, on the other hand, loves the look of Princess Mouse, which comes with a castle, a pile of mattresses and a crocheted pea. However the individual mice are also brimful of charm and each one has been given a unique character. Take a look at Big Brother Racer’s hat, or the Tooth Fairy Mice with their hats and wands, just for a start.

Maileg mouse circus tent

A circus tent! For mice!

Maileg mouse princess and the pea castle set

This mouse has her very own castle, and pea!

There is such a timeless simplicity to the design – Maileg toys look like the kind your grandmother’s grandmother might have made, sitting by the fire in that rosy-tinted nostalgic past where the snow fell every Christmas, all toys were crafted masterpieces (nobody say “lead paint”) and kids played outside every day. Never mind the rickets, I’m happy to buy into a world-view like this that encourages imaginative play through simple toys, and props that enable rather than restrict kids’ storytelling. Yes, these are made in China (you don’t fool me, ‘Made in PRC’ label), but they are high quality in terms of construction and materials, and the company itself is clearly trying to take an ethical stance on manufacturing.

Maileg mouse Big Sister asleep in dolls toy bell tent

Now we just need a sleeping bag!

Heritage Toys

Heritage toys don’t come cheap (quality always comes with a price tag, after all), but it’s clear that these mice are made to last. Maileg’s soft toys – according their website – are suitable for all ages, right from birth on up. Personally, I have my doubts as to how that mouse-tail would hold up against a determined toddler, and it makes me wince just thinking about a baby mouthing that lovely little mouse nose. But they are a great size for little ones and look pretty robust to boot. And in the end, what is a toy for, if not for playing? It’s wonderful to think of our kids being able to have something they can pass on to their own kids, but it’s surely more important for them to enjoy their own childhood playtime now.

Maileg Big Sister Mouse gets a big ‘thumbs up’ from T-Bird and me, and I’m sure lots more mischief and fun will be had with her. Many thanks to One Hundred Toys for sending her to us for review, and for starting off a new, but hopefully long-lasting, toy obsession!

Close up of Maileg mouse Big Sister wearing red polka dot dress

What a cute mouse!

Little girl cuddling toy maileg mouse Big Sister

Mouse-love

Child playing with Maileg mouse Big Sister in toy dolls bell tent

Tired after all that playing…


One Hundred Toys is an online toyshop, based in the UK. ​Their ethos is to provide a carefully curated collection of the one hundred essential toys, games and DIY things-to-do that will engage and delight your child. The website also includes lots of free activity ideas and a great blog, so check them out at www.onehundredtoys.com.
One Hundred Toys logo

Whilst One Hundred Toys kindly set us these toys to review, all opinions on this blog are our own (honestly, turns out we didn’t need any kind of payment to love Maileg Mice!). Maileg mice (and other animals!) are available to buy on the One Hundred Toys website – check out their dedicated Maileg page!


If you’ve enjoyed reading this, take a look at the tutorial for our wine-cork mouse food, and check back later for a how-to for that pesky but glorious Mouse-House bell tent! It will be coming soon, I promise…

Maileg toy mouse having cheese and cake picnic outside a toy bell tent

Make a lovely play picnic for your child’s toys – all out of wine corks!

Mouse toy inside twig teepee mini dens

We love making mini dens for forest creatures – or pocket companions! Mini dens are an easy way for kids to learn den building skills that can then be used to build one big enough for them. Click through to see some of the different types of den they can make.

Maileg toy mouse having cheese and cake picnic outside a toy bell tent

Make a lovely play picnic for your child’s toys – all out of wine corks!

Big Sister Maileg Mouse sitting in her matchbox bed

Big Sister Mouse has a darling red spotty dress that is simple to put on and take off.

7 Comments

  1. Well isn’t she just adorable!!! I love your handmade items to go with her!

  2. I love all this, so cute!

  3. They are so adorable, definitely “storybook appeal”. I love that they played with the box first, of course, and that you’ve already taken your new “big sister” camping!

  4. Hello,
    I’m looking for your bell tent tutorial, but I can’t find it. Can you send me the link?
    Regards,
    Christiane

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