On the Lake
Hello there, my little sunflowers! The sun has got his hat on, so why don’t we go on an adventure to the lake? The water will be sparkling in the sunshine and there will be lots of fun things to do!
What shall we do first? I know, let’s go for a paddle in the Canoe Set! It’s mustard yellow and comes with a set of oars to row ourselves around with, plus a tie so we can moor it up when we need a break. There are also some cute life jackets in blue and pink – safety first, after all!
Next, let’s go for a ride on the Swan Boat Set! There’s a big one for mother or father to go in, a smaller one that’s just the right size for me and then a little swan toy, which trails behind us. Isn’t it cute? There’s a camera to capture our fun times forever and even a bear shaped water bottle, as relaxing can be very thirsty work!
All this fun is making my tumble rumble. What shall we have for lunch? How about something delicious from the Scrumptious Sandwich Set? There’s something for everyone, from baguettes and bagels, to rolls and croissants, all with a choice of tasty filling.
What a fun day it’s been! Can we come back next weekend too?
The Delicious Restaurant
Good day to you! And how are we on this fine afternoon? I’m so glad you popped by, I have something which I think you will just LOVE.
Please, feast your eyes on the Delicious Restaurant. Word has it that this is the best restaurant in Town and it could be yours in a flash.
Featuring classic wooden dining table and chairs, as well as plates, cups, saucers and glasses for the best dinner in town. But wait, there’s more to see!
Make your way upstairs and you will find the kitchen, fully equipped to suit all your cooking needs. We have pots, pans, spoons, spatulas, the lot! And since I’m feeling particularly generous today I will get you started on your way and include some delicious food. There might even be a rather fabulous cake, that’s if I haven’t already eaten it… Yum!
If that isn’t enough, then just for you I’ll throw in something to wear too. We have a crisp set of chef whites for any budding young chef who wants to work in your kitchen. I must say this is a rather popular spot, probably because the food smells so good. It’s lovely to look at too, with the minty green walls and cute red canopies. So, what do you say? You’ll take it? How wonderful!
The Designer Studio
Stella Chocolate is a busy young lady – she runs her very own Designer Studio. It’s her favourite place to hideaway from the hustle and bustle and design some of her most fabulous creations. It’s no wonder she loves her little studio so much, with its fancy gold doors and pink walls, which even matches her dress!
Inside you will find a beautifully carved chaise longue and a table for Stella to work from, as well as a few home comforts to keep her ideas flowing. There’s a teacup and saucer, as well as a plate, fork and cake for her to nibble on.
And let’s not forget the rather fabulous Stella herself! She looks splendid in her pink and purple dress (which she designed herself) and she is usually carrying the cutest pink handbag, as well as a white hat with red ribbon trimmings perched upon her ear.
The Designer Studio can be connected to other buildings to create your very own townscape, and you can personalise it by swapping out the window frames and fences with other buildings.
A Guide to Sea Shell Spotting
Paws up if you can’t wait to go to the beach now it’s summer! There’s so much to do at the seaside it can be hard to decide between swimming in the sea, building sandcastles or sunbathing. Something that can be fun on the beach all year round is collecting beautiful sea shells on the sandy shore. Beaches are very special places with loads of wildlife so it’s important that you stick to a few rules when you go…
1. Always make sure there are no little creatures living in the shells you find, or you might both be in for a surprise when you get home!
2. Don’t leave anything behind; It is important to keep our beaches as beautiful as they were when we found them
3. Safety first: always keep a parent or responsible adult in sight!
So now you know the basic beach guidelines let’s have a little think about what you need to take with you. Now, there are a few essentials: sun cream, sensible shoes and a hat are all very important, and it is a great idea to take a bucket for your collection and a camera to take pictures of things which you can’t take home.
What shells can I find?
There are lots of different types of shells which you can find at the seaside. There are three types of shells you can find at the seaside: swirly shells, shells with two halves and shells that are neither of the two! The most common type of swirly shell is a whelk or a winkle and you will probably find these easy to find. Slightly more difficult to find but very pretty are the topped shell and the pheasant shell: both of these are small spiral shells with stripes, patterns and colours on them. There are all sorts of different types of scallops which are shells with two halves. They come in all sorts of colours and sizes from pink to blue, from smaller than your little finger nail to bigger than your whole paw! Make sure you keep and eye out for other types of shells too, as there are all sorts to discover.
What else can I find at the beach?
Shells aren’t the only treasures which you can find at the beach. Keep an eye out for the bright blues and greens of sea glass; this is glass that has been in the sea for such a long time that the edges are smooth and rounded. Sometimes they look like the precious jewels which Stella Chocolate uses in her special dress designs. The sea also does something special to any branches and sticks which get washed off the shores. When wood has been in the sea for a very long time all the creepy crawlies are gone and, just like the glass, all the splinters are smoothed away. If you look hard enough you might even find some pebbles which are worth adding to your collection.
What can I do with my beachcombing treasures?
When you get home, give all your shells a wash with some warm soapy water and leave them out on a tea towel to dry. Now what shall we do with our shells and treasures? Let’s hide them down on See Breeze Cape so the other Sylvanians can do their very own beachcombing, or you might want to make a pretty necklace or decorate a picture frame as a gift for someone special.
The Town Girls
These wonderful young ladies are bringing their beauty, style and skills to the Town . Meet Lulu Golightly, Stella Chocolate and Laura Cakebread, the big sisters of some of our favourite Sylvanians in Town! Although they will be very busy working hard, they love spending time with their families and teaching their little sisters to be successful young women, just like them.
Lulu Golightly is a talented makeup artist and loves to make the visitors to Town look AND feel beautiful. Lulu is very beautiful herself - her favourite colour is purple as it goes so well with her pure white fur and elegant eyes. When she’s not swishing and swooping her brushes over the cheeks and eyelids of the locals you will see her about town shopping with her younger siblings Tiffany And Toby, or sharing afternoon tea with her friends Stella and Laura.
Stella Chocolate is the fashion icon of the Town. Her dress is one she designed herself and is always paired with the perfect accessories. Stella likes to make sure people feel special, so she uses other Sylvanian’s birthstones to create a special dress just for them. She has a private studio, a space in which she just loves to get creative whenever she’s not working hard selling dresses at the Grand Department Store. Stella’s little sister Freya simply bursts with pride when she speaks about her big sister.
Laura Cakebread makes the best chocolates anyone has ever tasted. Sometimes she makes them shaped like beautiful jewels… they look too pretty to eat! She is big sister to Melinda, who loves baking cakes and dreams of having her own successful business just like Laura when she is older. When Laura isn’t working at the chocolate shop you will nearly either find them cooking up some tasty treats or exploring the town.
Gelato with Georgina Maple
Making Chocolate Gelato
Hello and welcome to my Creamy Gelato Shop! Have you tried gelato before? It’s truly delicious and very easy to make! I’m about to make a fresh batch of my famous chocolate gelato, so why don’t you give me a helping paw? Have your cones at the ready!
First things first, you’ll need to gather up all your ingredients:
· 200g chocolate
· 65g sugar
· 5 egg yolks
· 500ml milk
We start off with my second favourite part - melting the chocolate. We can do this in a bain-marie, which is a saucepan full of hot water with a glass bowl of top. Break the chocolate up into little chunks and pop them in the glass bowl, making sure the bowl is just above the water so that it heats up gently and evenly. Hmmm it smells so good, it’s making my tummy rumble! Remember to stir the chocolate every now and again to make sure there are no lumps.
Next, beat the egg yolk and sugar together in a separate bowl. Now, warm the milk up on a low heat and stir it gently. Once it starts to bubble up, take it off the heat and let it cool down a little. Slowly add the milk to the yolk mixture little by little and give it a good stir.
Now for the messy part! Add the melted chocolate to the mixture and stir it all together. Once everything is all mixed up, pour it into a cold metal container and pop it in the freezer for 7 hours. I know this seems like an awfully long time to wait, but you don’t want your gelato to melt in the Sylvanian sunshine, now do you?
After 45 minutes, give your gelato a good stir to break up any ice lumps, then pop it back into the freezer. You’ll need to do this another two times, at 45 minutes intervals.
Once your gelato is ready, give it a blitz in a food processor or hand mixer and scoop some into a cone. Oh, you mustn’t forgetthe toppings! I especially love white chocolate shavings or mini raspberry meringues on mine, but you could have berries, nuts, chocolate chips, sprinkles or even a scoop of another gelato!
After all that work, we can finally relax in the sunshine with our lovely gelato!
Maple Cat Family
Meet the Maple Cat Family: Father Theodore, Mother Georgina, Sister Millie and Brother Jasper. You’ll recognise them by their beautiful ginger coats, which are super soft and shiny in the sunlight. They’re the newest family and you’ll usually find them in the Town, where Theodore and Georgina both work.
Theodore is the new tram driver in the Town and quickly makes friends with everyone he meets. He’ll usually be wearing a driver’s hat and red bow tie, as well as the cheeriest smile on his face. Theodore never gets lost and often gives great suggestions to those looking for their next adventure.
Georgina is the owner of the Creamy Gelato Shop, which serves the best gelato in all of the Town! She can guess which your favourite gelato flavour is just by meeting you! She picks all the fresh fruit for her gelato by paw and often creates new flavour combinations, which she gives to the children to test out.
Millie is a big nature enthusiast and will happily stay out in the meadow all day long, studying all the different plants. She has a real eye for composition and her beautiful bouquets are always perfectly arranged. She’s even been asked to lend a paw with the flowers for the Delicious Restaurant!
Jasper is a budding author, with a huge imagination that he uses to create lots of adventure stories. When he needs some inspiration, he goes to the library to read about his favourite characters – sometimes he’ll be there until the sun goes down and will have to run home for dinner!
Little Alfie is a bit of a rascal! You have to keep a close eye on him, as he’s very curious and always wandering off to explore somewhere new. He loves musical instruments and is especially good on the xylophone. He takes it with him everywhere, even for journeys on board his dad’s tram!
Twins Daisy and Misty Maple are quite the opposite of each other. Daisy is very confident and loves loud music, often playing together with her brother Alfie, whereas Misty is a bit more timid. She prefers peace and quiet and can find loud noises quite scary.
Ewan Dale’s Gardening Tips
What to grow in April and May
Spring is finally here and all the flowers are waking up from their winter sleep – hooray! The longer days mean there’s more time to enjoy the sunshine outside, but it’s still a little chilly so wrap up warm. April can also be a bit showery which makes it perfect for growing plants, so don’t let it hold your green-fingers back. I’m about to start planting my crops, would you like to lend a paw?
There’s nothing quite like the flavour of fresh peas, which is why they’re one of my favourite vegetables! The easiest types to grow (and the tastiest!) are mangetout and sugar snaps.
Pea seeds like warm soil and lots of sunshine, so it’s best to plant them now so that they’re ready in time for summer. They’ll make the perfect snack when you’re outside playing in the garden!
First things first, you’ll need to make a cosy bed for your pea seeds. Using a rake, make a flat-bottomed trench 5cm deep and 15cm wide in an open patch of soil. Than plant your seeds evenly, about 7.5cm apart – you can measure the spaces with a ruler if you like – cover them up with some soil and lightly pat it down with your hands. Give them a nice drink of water and they’re all ready to start growing.
Make sure you keep watering your little peas as they’re growing and once they’ve started to bloom, give them an extra daily drink to help the pods puff out.
Sunflowers are the happiest of all flowers! Their big yellow grins of joy always help to put a smile on my face. They come in lots of different sizes, with the tallest type growing up to 4m - that’s even taller then you, little one! I think we’ll start off with something a little smaller though, like the ‘Teddy Bear’ or ‘Big Smile’ (don’t they have the sweetest of names?) which grow between 30-90cm. By planting them now, you’ll have lots of blooming flowers in August.
Once you’ve chosen your packet of seeds, you’ll need to pick the best possible area to plant them. They like well-drained soil, with no weeds and lots of sunlight, so you’ll need to rake the soil until it’s soft and fluffy. Next, make some small holes 1.2cm deep and 10cm apart, so that your sunflowers have lots of room to spread out. Gently place your seeds in the holes, cover them up with soil and give them a nice drink of water. Perfect!
Slugs and snails love to eat sunflower shoots the best of all plants, so you can protect them by cutting the top off a plastic bottle and placing it over the little seedlings. There, now they’ll grow up big and strong.
Your sunflowers can become a bit wobbly as they’re growing up, so you can give them a helping paw by putting a bamboo cane at the base and loosely tying the plants to it with some string. Now just watch your pretty sunflowers grow, grow and grow!
Old Versus New
Bakery & Brick Oven Bakery
Sylvanian Families was created in Japan in 1985 - over 30 years ago - and was released in the UK in 1987. The very first residents were the bear, rabbit, mice and mole families and they lived in the original Country Cottage and Deluxe Country House. The families were called: the Evergreens, Wildwoods, Babblebrooks, Thistlethorns and the McBurrows.
Above you can see a photo of the very first Bakery which was released in 1988. It was run by the Oakwood Squirrel Family and was quite simple in style; a plain wooden exterior with two windows showcasing the baked treats, while a large bakery sign sat atop the red roof. Inside you could admire the dainty looking cakes or buy some delicious bread at the till. In the photo you can spot Taylor Timberland welcoming some excited children into the store. The bakery was loved by every Sylvanian Families collector so your parents might have had one when they were growing up – why don’t you ask them?
Sylvanian Families has changed over the years, but a bear family (The Petites) still resides in the village. The ideas of family, love and nature remain at the heart of the toys, and you can still see familiar faces around the village.
In 2016, reminiscent of the old Bakery, the Brick Oven Bakery was released; it’s run by Eleanor Bramble and her husband, Mortimer. It still has an open plan layout and the same red roof and beige exterior, but there are lot of exciting differences too. Inside there is now a big pizza oven, where Eleanor bakes her goods and also the pizzas for Mortimer’s pizza delivery business. The two windows showcasing the treats have been moved to each side of the building and customers now have a wider variety of goods to choose from.
Can you spot the differences between the old and new Bakery? If you have photos of your Sylvanian Bakery we’d love to see them!
Introducing Stella X Sylvanian Families Debut Collection!
Hamleys Regent Street today hosted a new designer from the house of Sylvanian Families, whose debut haute couture collection was unveiled at the world’s smallest fashion show!
Stella by Sylvanian Families is the new designer on the block. Her eye-wateringly small couture outfits, handmade in Japan exclusively for her debut Spring/Summer 2018 collection, were worn by models measuring a teeny 9.5cm on the world’s smallest catwalk.
The 40 bespoke outfits encompass a range of styles, from Victorian glamour modernised and interpreted in a Sylvanian way, to this season’s throwback to the glitzy 1980s. Jaw-dropping red-carpet dresses in a rainbow of colours and luxe fabrics are mixed with jewel-studded male suiting in black, burgundy or brown. Despite being made in miniature, the detailing is couture quality: think crystals, embroidery, lace, tulle, faux leather and gold chains. The collection also includes the obligatory show-stopping, diamond-encrusting wedding gown.
Stella’s inspiration comes from the new Sylvanian Families Town – a sophisticated urban environment very different from the rural countryside of the Sylvanian Village – and this collection is most definitely for occasion wear.
She comments: “The Sylvanian Families signature look has always captured a lost innocence, but my new haute couture collection incorporates more urban elements reflecting our modern, diverse lives, as well as seeking to be on-trend with the styling and accessories. I’m delighted to be showing it in London for the first time this season.”
The world’s smallest catwalk will be on display at street level in the Hamleys window on London’s Regent Street from today until 2nd May. Another catwalk will also be on display until 24th March inclusive. After that it will go ‘on tour’ around the UK as part of a Sylvanian Families roadshow at intu shopping centres.