Reviewed by Dotty Winters
Like all the best ideas, the idea for the doodle tablecloth is really simple: a washable graph-paper designed tablecloth, paired with washable pens so you can decorate as you eat, then wash and repeat. The product is high quality, and arrived simply and neatly packaged. Instructions are included, but you won’t need them: the tablecloth works like a table cloth and the pens work like pens.
When the 3 year old walked into the kitchen to find the table set with the cloth he was very excited. “Ooooh, it looks like a party in here“ he said. To be fair, he doesn’t see tablecloths often, so it was either going to look like a party or Christmas to him. I enjoy a nicely set table, and dread to think of the financial and environmental cost of various disposable themed table settings which have been acquired over the years (I think we still have inflatable cactus kicking about from a Miexican-themed party somewhere). Next time we’ll be laying out the Doodle tablecloth, and everyone can colour their own chilli peppers/holly wreath/party balloons.
There are so many ways you could use this product, as soon as I heard about it my head was full of ideas on what we might do. Maybe we’d use it to each draw a picture of our favourite part of the day, or to talk about our wishes and hopes. Perhaps we could use the graph-paper design to colour a Gantt chart mapping out our ambitions and futures, or to schedule wholesome family activities? If I were a Pinterest-Mum with a pinterest-family these thing might have happenned, but as I only had my family to work with everything quickly descended into chaotic silliness and insults. I’d used the pens to mark place settings with our names on, and it didn’t take long before every name was appended with “is a poo“. Being allowed to draw on the table brought out the naughtiness in all of us. We loved every minute of it.
That evening I stuck the cloth in the machine, and like magic all the evidence of our naughtiness disappeared, ready for us to reoffend again!
Having the tablecloth as a focus encouraged us all to linger round the table; yes, dinner took longer than usual, but everyone got along, and at one point I drew a dolphin which was so distracting that the toddler ate some cabbage without even noticing what he was doing.
I have no hesitation in awarding the Doodle tablecloth 5 artfully scribbled stars out of five. We can’t wait to invite some other people round and use it again.
RRP: £35 (medium 180x150cm) / £40 (large 250x150cm)
Available to buy from www.eatsleepdoodle.co.uk.