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Gelato with Georgina Maple

05/08/18

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!



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Introducing

04/23/18

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.



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Ewan Dale’s Gardening Tips

04/16/18

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?

 

Peas

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

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!



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Old Versus New

03/27/18

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!



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News

03/22/18

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. 



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Unboxing

03/13/18

The Grand Department Store

The Grand Department Store is the heart of the Town. It is adorned with fancy decorations and golden engravings; the revolving door spins round and the manual lift can carry figures to the upper storey for the ultimate shopping experience.

You can open and close the main building to enjoy different layouts, just like the one above.

The rooms can be filled with contents from the Boutique Fashion Set, Cosmetic Beauty Set, Fashion Showcase Set and the Chocolate Lounge (all sold separately).

You can also customise your Grand Department Store by replacing the windows, fences, and awnings included with the building (all sold separately).

Create your own townscape by combining the Grand Department Store with other buildings like the Delicious Restaurant, Creamy Gelato Shop and Delicious Restaurant.

There is also an all-in-one set called the Grand Department Store Gift Set – this includes the Grand Department Store structure and four boutique stores to go inside, as well as a Stella Chocolate Rabbit Sister figure to complete the Town.



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News

03/01/18

Welcome to the Sylvanian Families Town

Our new Town has official opened, yippee! Shall we take a tour before it’s bustling with Sylvanians?

Let’s hop on board the Ride Along Tram to travel around the Town. Don’t forget to say a cheery “Good morning” to Theodore Maple Cat, the tram driver who is in charge of taking you on all the adventures.

On your left, you can see the Grand Department Store: the heart of the Town. We’ll take a peek in there later – a good browse around the Fashion, Cosmetic and Beauty Boutique is just what Mother Chocolate ordered! When we’re done, we’ll pass by the Chocolate Lounge for a cup of acorn tea and a sweet nibble.

Now, if you look to the right, you can spot the Designer Studio. This is where Stella, Freya’s older sister, works, making beautiful dresses and garments come to life from just a simple sketch in her workbook. We’ll pop by after a spot of afternoon tea to see if Stella’s all set up for the grand opening. She’s such an inspiration!

Oh, how could I forget! Keep your eyes and ears open for the sound of music while we’re venturing around... Lionel the Lion is the Town’s pianist and he’s been practising every day to make your visit one in a million!

Take a peek ahead of us and you’ll be able to see – and smell - the Delicious Restaurant. *belly rumbles* You’ll know the head chef well; Frasier Chocolate serves the finest food and invents the tastiest tasting menus you ever did see.

If you pop your head round to the left, you’ll be able to spot the Creamy Gelato Shop. In the summer months, we’ll be going there A LOT. What could be better than a gelato in the golden sunshine? The Tram we’re on often does gelato on the go – the counter just slots in simply between the doors so, if you fancy an afternoon treat at work, you can quickly nip out as it travels around the Town.

Well, we’re nearly coming to the end of our tour little one. How are you liking the new Town so far?

Before we hop off at the next stop, there are a couple of store owners that you just have to meet. This is Lulu Golightly and Laura Cakebread – the older sisters of Tiffany and Melinda. I’m sure you’ll all be the best of friends!

Now, why don’t we all catch up over a spot of afternoon tea? My tummy is calling out for a macaron and there is a rainbow of colours to choose from. What a treat!



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Introducing

02/12/18

White Mouse Family

Meet the Hawthorns White Mouse Family: Father Hickery, Mother Imogen, Brother Bryce and Sister Laurel. You’ll spot them a mile off as their fur is as white as snow and their ears as pink as candyfloss. They’ll usually be spotted running around the fields playing games – all as one big family.                                                                                                                                             Hickery is a cheerful entertainer and likes to make everyone around him feel happy. His magic skills ensure he can often be found entertaining other Sylvanian residents with his amazing tricks. No one can ever work out how he does the tricks, and when asked, his response is always “It’s just magic!”                                                                                                                                                                                              Imogen loves to talk on the phone – she’s always advising customers at work who are looking for a new car so they can take their family on an adventure. She always has the right suggestions and makes lots of new friends through her job. In her spare time, she loves to map out the family’s next camping adventure.                                                                                                                                                                Bryce is popular at school. Cheerful and full of good spirit, he likes making everyone laugh by telling jokes. He sometimes giggles a little too much in class but always apologies if a teacher is speaking at the same time. Bryce’s hand is the first to go up when a question is asked and even if his answer is not quite right, his friends admire his enthusiasm.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Laurel always does things her own way. She’s always on an adventure -either real or imaginary - and can’t wait for the next one to start!



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In the Woods with the Buttercups

01/30/18

Alphabet in the Woods

Playing in the woods is so much fun; you can’t leave a leaf unturned in case there’s something amazing to discover underneath! Why don’t we play a game? Can you think of something relating to the woods beginning with each letter of the alphabet? Go on, it’s easy once you get started.

A for adventure: don’t forget to look in every nook and cranny!

B for berries: perfect for putting in delicious pies. Yum!

C for camping

D for discovery

E for exploring

F for forest

G for green grass

H for hikers: bring your walking boots and let’s hike on an adventure!

I for insects

J for jay bird

K for kite: fly it high in the sky but avoid trees!

L for ladybug

M for magnifying glass: we don’t want you to miss anything, do we?

N for nuts

O for oak

P for pinecone: why not take some home and decorate them?

Q for quiet

R for rustling: did you hear that?

S for sticks

T for tent

U for undergrowth: explore the bushes and see who’s hiding in them!

V for violets

W for woods

X for x marks the spot: going on a treasure hunt in the woods: you can make an X out of twigs or leaves.

Y for yellow buttercups

Z for zip-wire: weeeeeeeeeeeeee!



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Unboxing

10/18/17

Nursery Friends

It’s the start of a new school year and the littlest ones in Sylvanian Village are hopping with excitement - this year they begin nursery! They’ve got new matching uniforms – which look very smart indeed – as well as a pencil case full of coloured pencils and textbooks all ready to go, plus all the accessories they could need. How exciting!

Let’s take a look at the set:

The Nursery Friends Set comes with three baby figures – Crème, Ambrose and Bonnie - and a selection of accessories for them to wear, plus a mini catalogue.

 The accessories include a blue bear-shaped water bottle, a yellow sunhat and a pink school satchel. Aren’t they sweet?

The accessories match perfectly with the new nursery uniforms and coloured shoes! Why not swap them around so everyone gets a turn with an accessory?

The Nursery Friends Set is available to buy HERE.



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