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Dokki, Cairo, Egypt.
Top Toys: Gifts for All Occasions in Dokki
Each shop sells a different genre of product. With Christmas looming and a long list of requests, we first headed to the toy shop, slap bang in the middle of the trio of shops. The shop seems smaller than it is as it's crammed from floor to ceiling with merchandise – had we been children, we wouldn't have been able to contain our excitement. We went in looking for some Lego, they didn't have any, but we came out with so much more.
The toy section for little girls is the largest and stocks everything a little princess could ever need. From the ones we were tall enough to see, life-like dolls go from anywhere up to 400LE and come with all sorts of accessories; prams, bottles, baby-grows and more. Surprisingly, there was a very small range of genuine Barbies, costing about 150LE.
However, Top Toys stock a huge range of unbranded figurines and Disney princesses, the cheapest costing just 10LE. We picked up a imitation princess-type Barbie with a puffy pink dress and four other outfits for just 65LE. We also bought a sheet of giant Disney princess character stickers for 20LE.
The boys section is somewhat smaller than the girls' but is stacked with all the usual action figures, wrestling toys, cars and train sets. We bought a toy gun which shoots soft tubes that stick on the wall for 45LE and a fun, small, jumping figure for 25LE.
We quickly browsed the stationery section which stocks everything little ones need for school. We spied many novelty notepads, pencil cases, pencils and pens, notably Spongebob and Cars for boys and of course, pink items for girls. A pack of pencils cost just 7LE whilst a complete set of gel pens costs 12LE.
We also noticed that Top Toys has a huge section of DVDs and Playstation games, arts and crafts sets (50LE+) and novelty children's watches. At the time of our visit, they were also selling loads of Christmas decorations; tinsel, baubles, hanging snow flakes, fairy lights, and even fake trees – tiny ones (5LE) and medium sized ones (65LE). We bought a tiny one which subsequently broke when we were decorating it with our packet of six shiny baubles (5LE), but, we got what we paid for and it still ended up looking quite pretty.
Next, the shop furthest to the left sells all sorts; almost anything useful to the average hoarder. The shelves were stacked with mostly bric a brac in the form of glittery key rings, ash trays (20LE), decorative or plain photo frames (40LE-200LE) and photo albums. Small trinket boxes (10LE), cute Hello Kitty tissue box holders (40LE) are on offer, while strong smelling incense and candles start from 10LE up to 40LE, and mugs, including some imitation Starbucks ones, sell for 30LE.
In here, they also offer a wrapping service with a wide range of brightly coloured paper (15LE per metre) and fabric wrapping (20LE per metre). Helium balloons for all occasions are also available from 30LE all the way up to 120LE.
Last but not least, the third outlet is a fancy dress shop which stocks hundreds of costumes for both children and adults which change depending on upcoming events and seasons. When we went, the little shop was crammed with Christmas outfits, from cheap but effective options to the more pricey ones which could cost up to 600LE. They also sell accessories, masks and wigs.
Although it might take a while to sort through the mountains of stock in each of the Top Toys shops, it's probable that you'll eventually find what you're looking for, and more. The shop assistant is usually on hand to help and seemed to navigate their way around the organised mess much better than ourselves.
Following in the footsteps of even the most cosmopolitan cities, the Cairo shopping scene is fast evolving and welcomes more and more designer names to our colossal shopping malls. Aspiring to cater for shoppers of all ages, Citystars have recently seen the opening of Burberry Children.
Founded in 1856, Burberry has expanded from their staple trench-coats and outerwear to full clothing lines, including entire collections dedicated to children. Quintessentially British, the brand is well-known for its high quality and even higher prices. Both the exterior and interior is much like any other of their branches; shiny, immaculate and well organised, but with mini manikins sporting the latest looks.
The shop is spacious and split into two sections, with the front half offering clothes for children aged one to five years, and the back for between five and fourteen years. Although intending to offer flawless customer service, as soon as we entered the shop, we were followed closely by one of the many members of smartly dressed staff, which actually made for an uncomfortable and claustrophobic browsing session.
With an air of seriousness, a child-size table in the middle of the shop boasts several iPads, in order to occupy children so parents can pick out their outfits in peace. Alongside this, many of the rails are hung at adult height, and whilst many of the clothes are more demure than fun, it is obvious that the intended audience is in fact the adults, not the children.
Their autumn collection has been designed using warm colours such as deep purple, burnt orange and browns, as well as slightly brighter, but modest, pinks and greens. Many of the items feature the signature Burberry print, including full chequered shirts, button up cardigans (995LE), the turn-ups on boys’ jeans (1100LE) and girls’ leggings, whilst other garments sport clear but subtler logos. We also spotted striped rugby shirts (915LE) for boys, chequered day dresses for girls (1755LE) and soft novelty tops for little ones (535LE). Gift boxes for newborns are also available (1350LE) and include an all in one jumpsuit, a hat and a Burberry chequered bib. A large range of smart coats and jackets are also available for both boys and girls; wax jackets, down-filled puffers, woollen pea coats and duffles. In the way of shoes, bags and other accessories, little to none were available.
Modelled by the likes of Romeo Beckham, the clothes are admittedly both incredibly chic and smart. Despite this, considering how fast children grow, the prices at Burberry Children may seem utterly ridiculous to the average Egyptian, let alone thoroughly impractical for everyday use. However, if you’re searching for something for a very important occasion, or a gift for someone special, Burberry is unlikely to disappoint.