Monthly Archives: June 2017

Sylvanian Families

Sylvanian-Fam-HeadingOur mid-year sale has just kicked off. If you haven’t already heard, we have 25% off Sylvanian Families, Schleich, Ravensburger, Playmobil, Siku, and Melissa & Doug until July 31st. To celebrate, the elves decided it would be a very good idea to delve further into these six brands to learn more about them. For the next four weeks, we will focus on a different brand, revealing all that you need to know about them and MORE.  To kick things off, we are going to put the limelight on, Sylvanian Families.

Sylvanian Families is a range of collectable anthropomorphic (i.e. having human characteristics) animal figurines made of textured plastic. The world ‘sylvan’ is a Latin adjective meaning ‘of or from the woodland’. Sylvanian Families were created by the Japanese gaming company Epoch in 1985 and distributed worldwide by a number of companies.

Originally named Pleasant Friends of the Forest Epoch System Collection Animal Toy Sylvanian Families, Epoch sensibly shortened the brand name to the brand we know today – Sylvanian Families. The first releases of the Sylvanian Families dollhouses and playsets were made from porcelain, with wooden furniture pieces. Later versions of the products replaced these materials with plastic and metal. By 1988, Sylvanian Families had become a major success around the world, winning the British Association of Toy Retailers award for “Toy of the Year” three years consecutively, in 1987, 1988 and 1989 (the only brand to ever do so).
Sylvanian-FamIn 2014 Sylvanian Families announced that since inception the brand had produced 61 different families, 37 different houses, 66 theme items (199 including medium sized items), and 368 furniture and accessories pieces. The total number of Sylvanian Families figures sold worldwide since 1985 is approximately 120,000,000; which is equal to about three characters per second!

The characters are grouped into families. Most families consist of a father, mother, sister and brother; many continue to add family members such as grandparents, babies, and older siblings. The biologically diverse range of figurines, originally just depicted typical woodland creatures such as rabbits, squirrels, bears, beavers, hedgehogs, foxes, deer, owls, racoons, otters, skunks and mice. The brand later expanded to include other animals such as cats (Persian, silk and “Celebration”), dogs, hamsters, guinea pigs, penguins, monkeys, cows, sheep, pigs, elephants, pandas (red as well as giant), kangaroos, koalas and meerkats.

All of these animals “live” in a fictional village Sylvania; which is based on 1950’s Great Britain.  The majority of the families that live in Sylvania are rural middle-class, who own their own family business or have a white-collar job. These families can live in large houses, or small dwellings, that are designed highly realistically. They also indulge in many stereotypically middle-class leisure activities such as sailing or horse-riding, and often host garden parties or go on short camping holidays.

Sylvanian Families has a friendly appeal that attracts people from different age groups. Based on three concepts, nature, family and love, children are encouraged to explore the power of their imaginations while learning to care and share with one another. The play value of the Sylvanian Families range is huge as children can interact with the dolls in a number of different ways, such as playing-doll, decorating homes, collecting furniture and changing outfits. Sylvanian Families products are brilliant tools to help children acquire essential social skills while promoting wholesome play and developing thoughts and emotions.

With so many play and educational benefits, it’s not hard to see why Sylvanian Families has always had a home here at Entropy (ten years this coming August). I hope that this entry has provided you with more of an insight into the world of Sylvania and the animals who call it home. Our mid-year catalogue sale finishes up on July 31st. If you would like to introduce Sylvanian Families to your child’s play or add to their growing collection we recommend you do it before then! Until next week,

Our Mid-Year Catalogue is HERE!

Mid-Year Catalogue = Mega Savings!

Our mid-year catalogue is here – yippee! Enjoy 25% off Schleich, Sylvanian Families, Ravensburger, Playmobil, Melissa & Doug, and Siku until July 31st. These brands boast with awesome toys for children of all ages. Believe it or not, but Christmas is only 25 Fridays away, and there is no such thing as being too prepared.

If you would like to peruse out Catalogue specials there are two ways you can do this. Firstly you can view our Catalogue Specials on our website – there are over 500 products to choose from! Or, you can view an electronic copy of the mid-year catalogue by clicking on the image below.

5603_ITSA Catalogue 2017-cover

Townsville Families – The Hardings

The 2017 is zooming by. It’s hard to believe that we have already heard from four fantastic Townsville families. We hope that our Townsville readers have become inspired to head out to enjoy some of the excellent local public places and events. For our readers who are located elsewhere in Australia, we hope that you have enjoyed learning more about Townsville and the people who call it home. This week, unfortunately, marks the end of this series of blog posts, for now. To finish this series off with a bang, we have interviewed the head of the Harding household – Natalie!

Natalie is a full-time working mum, who just returned to work after finishing up her maternity leave. Her husband, William, also works full-time and the couple are just starting to grasp the concept of juggling the “9 to 5” with prep and day-care. With three beautiful boys under the age of five in the house, Natalie has a hard time keeping their bottomless tummies and her fridge full.
The Harding BoysWilliam is a runner who loves to spend time with his boys while getting active. Of a morning William barely has time to sit down after his run before one of the boys is asking to be taken out. Natalie and William’s oldest boy Henry, 5, takes after his Dad. Henry is a very reserved character who is intrigued by all that surrounds him. He would like to be a researcher when he grows up, so he is constantly collecting leaves, dirt and anything that looks interesting. Robert, 3, is an easy-going happy child. He will happily talk to anyone, always has to say “hello” and is full to the brim of charm. Much like his father, Robert loves getting active. He loves to run, ride his bike or scooter and, much to Natalie’s dismay, climb trees! Last but certainly not least is John, 1. John is a perfect mix of both his brothers; he has completely skipped the baby stage and wants to be doing everything his brothers are doing. He is always smothering them in cuddles instead of the other way around. Whether John is playing with them or not, he loves just being around his brothers. While the boys are all very different, the one thing they have in common is that they are on the go and never sit still from the moment they wake to when they pass out.

The Hardings are a Defence Family who first came to Townsville for work. The family lived in Sydney for a period of time, where two of the boys were born, before they chose to come back to Townsville. “Although we liked living in Sydney we knew we wanted to come back to Townsville. Having such active boys, and wanting to be outside all the time, the thought of being able to access places like the Strand, Riverway, parks and so many paths appealed to us. Also, having the weather to facilitate so many outdoor activities also helps”, said Natalie.

“We love everything about Townsville. I love how diverse our weekends can be without spending a lot or travelling too far. We will spend one weekend at the Museum of Tropical Queensland and Perc Tucker Regional Gallery. The following weekend at the Strand playing on the beach, the next weekend at Riverway on the bike paths. Then finish the month off at the Heritage Range Tea Rooms bushwalking and having a relaxing meal while the boys play”, said Natalie.

So how does this super mum do it all? Here are a few hints and tips that Natalie would like to share with you –

1. Think outside the box when trying to entertain kids, especially if you’re on a budget. Townsville has amazing parks spread all around – even in some random suburban streets. Park hopping is a fun way to fill in the weekend. Plus a great way to get kids looking and reading maps.

2. Life is so crazy and stressful. So much more seems to be expected from everyone; kids, parents and especially mums. Try (easier said than done) to slow down and spend as much time as you can with your children; they do grow up so quickly.

3. After being asked to sit for this blog, I realised we have no family photos! I have lots of images of the boys, lots of images of William and the boys and myself and the boys. However, not a single photo of all of us together. Make sure you take a family photo often.

With that, sadly our Townsville Family Series has drawn to a close. I would like to thank our five Townsville families for sharing so much with us and thank you for reading. If you would like to read more on a certain topic send me an email (johanna@entropy.com.au)!

Townsville Families – The Stephensons

The Stephenson FamilyIf you weren’t aware last month, we held an Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea event and raffle. We set out to raise $300 and with the support of our wonderful toy lovers we raised just over $1,000. The winner of this raffle was a local woman Kellie Stephenson who scored herself $500 worth of toys and a spot in this week’s family feature!

Kellie is the head of the Stephenson’s home, mum to three gorgeous boys, wife to husband Corey, daughter of two amazing parents, sister and a friend. Kellie is the runner of the household, making sure everyone is organised, clothed, fed and healthy.  She works casually at a local university (James Cook University), helps her husband run their Concreting Business and runs her own business ‘Support Local Townsville’. How Kellie does it all I have no idea, however, she assures me that she likes to keep busy!

Corey, Kellie’s husband, is the ‘yin’ to her ‘yang’ as he brings the ‘zen’ to the family and helps restore the ‘crazy’. Together the couple has three boys: Zac, Brett and Will. Zac, eight, is head chief and the couple’s oldest child. Kellie describes him as a rule follower, who is a terrific big brother and helps to keeps the little ones occupied. The next in line is cheeky Brett, two, who is the Stephenson’s “spirited child”. Will is the youngest of the boys; he turns one next week and while being young is very serious. “He is an old soul who seems to take everything in, doesn’t give much away.  Makes you work for a smile, but I tell you what when he gives you one it is heart melting”, said Kellie.
Stephenson Family
Kellie and Corey lived in Charters Towers (a rural region of Townsville) for just over six years before they embarked on a journey of a lifetime. The couple sold everything and decided to travel around Australia. They fell pregnant with Brett while on their travels and came back to Townsville for his birth. During this time they fell in love with North Queensland all over again and decided to stop travelling ‘pull up stumps’ and make Townsville their permanent home.

“There is so much to do in Townsville and so many great locally owned businesses.  From the school holiday programs, the parks, the weather, we find that there is always something to do with the kids and there are always options that suit every budget (just look at the list of activities that Entropy organise).  Our Southern friends are very jealous of our winter lifestyle, and I love that kids can be outside and play every month of the year”, said Kellie.

So how does this super mum do it all? Here are a few hints and tips that Kellie would like to share with you –

  1. “My biggest tip to Mums in Townsville is you never have to feel alone. Being a very transient town with Defence and FIFO population, I have met a lot of mother’s that have expressed they feel alone because they move here not knowing anybody.  There are so many groups, activities, etc. that welcome all Mums, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.”
  2. “To mums across Australia, you are doing an amazing job. Speaking with different Mums from all walks of life through a blog my sister and I run ‘OMG I’m That Mum’ we come across so many Mums who feel judgement and criticism, I want to reassure you that you are doing a wonderful job.  It’s ok to have a rough day from time to time, nobody is perfect.  Trying your best is enough, you are enough. Let’s rally behind every Mum and instead of bringing other Mums down, raise them up and know that they are amazing, #lessjudgementmoresupport.”

To finish things off I have a tip/treat for our Townsville readers. If you aren’t already following Kellie’s ‘Support Local Townsville’ pages then you are missing out. Kellie does a fantastic job at unearthing local business and encouraging others to support the local economy. Her social media platforms are always full of fun and helpful treats for locals. I hope you enjoyed learning about another local family, I know the elves did! Until next week.