Saturday, 28 May 2016

Sylvanian Family Camper Van Review

This month, our duties as Friends of Sylvanian Families has gotten us all excited for the Summer holidays. We received something in the post that has been on Lile and Sábha's wish list (and mine, to be honest) for ages - the Sylvanian Family Camper Van.
Until now, we'd been using both a Hello Kitty Camper Van and a Shopkins Ice Cream truck to get our Sylvanian Family figurines on the road - but they didn't really fit into either of those very well so they are more than chuffed to have their own set of wheels now. And in perfect time too - we have a whole Summer of road trip adventures ahead of us, to look forward to!

The camper is a classic, timeless design and comes in a gorgeous green-blue colour. It also comes with over 30 extra pieces. There are stickers to decorate the van, furniture and bedding (sleeping bags of course!), kitchen-ware for those all important picnic lunches and even reading material and board games for those rainy days. Not forgetting a map so that no one gets lost!
Lile and Sábha are absolutely thrilled with this addition to our collection. They especially love the little stove, the kitchen drawers that can store all of the little bits and bobs, the pull-out sofa bed and the draughts game. They've just learned how to play draughts themselves so I think that's why they are extra excited about that bit.
They wanted to make a video all about it - so we attempted making our first 'unboxing/toy review' style video. I hope you enjoy it!
You can visit the Sylvanian Families website to find out more about this beautiful Camper Van!

This toy has given me a longing for a life-sized camper van in exactly the same style and has me dreaming of potential road trips. Where would you head (with your Sylvanian friends) if you could set off on a road-trip adventure this Summer?! Please share your ideas in the comments!

Disclosure: As a 'Friend of Sylvanian Families', I received the Sylvanian Families Camper Van for the purposes of review. All opinions are mine / Lile and Sábha's, however, and we were not paid to give them.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Sensory Nature Trail at Powerscourt Waterfall

Yesterday, we had the very good fortune to be invited to visit Powerscourt Waterfall to attend their 'Sensory Nature Trail' event, which was hosted by Imaginosity (Dublin's Children's Museum). As a family, we are very interested in and inspired by the natural world so it sounded like a great way for us to spend a Sunday afternoon. However, visiting the highest waterfall in Ireland is never a bad idea and it's a must-see if you're in the Wicklow area.
The sun shone as we made our way down the winding avenue towards the waterfall and we easily spotted the Imaginosity team sitting on picnic blankets waiting for the children to arrive. They had lots of interesting things laid out for us to explore. Shells, model insects and leaves which could be inspected by magnifying glass. There were also some beautiful books about nature, from which we learned about the life-cycle of the butterfly. 
When everyone had gathered together we practiced listening, looking, feeling and smelling in preparation for our sensory walk. We were also offered the chance to make some 'nature bracelets' which I thought was a simple-but-brilliant idea. (Clearly evidenced by the fact that I was the only parent that accepted the offer...) One of the team wrapped wide tape around our wrists, so that the sticky side faced up, and we collected little flowers, moss, grass, seeds, leaves, etc and stuck them to it as we walked. We all ended up with rather fetching bracelets by the end of the day!
The pace of the trail was perfect. There was no rush at all and there was enough time at each 'station' for each child to fully engage with the task. Throughout, the Imaginosity team always took the time to pay attention to the little discoveries the children made along the way and to share them with the group. They really made each child feel included and the atmosphere in the group was friendly and relaxed.

Along the trail we had a chance to talk about trees and to take rubbings from the bark of a Giant Redwood. We also had a chance to fly like butterflies and to climb like spiders in a giant 'spiderweb'. We met a frog in the grass, smelled dried lavender, felt (and tasted!) fresh pine needles. We made a wish at the wishing bridge, painted with mud (!) by the river, visited a fairy tree filled with glitter and found sparkling stones in the river, before finally making our way up to the beautiful waterfall. It truly was a feast for the senses.
Moments after this picture was taken the frog leapt from captivity and 'kissed' Sábha on the face
And after all that, the team somehow still had the energy to play some games with us! We played with a huge colourful parachute and had some sack-races - which were hilarious. Especially when the parents took part...
My girls were reluctant to leave the place at the end of the event and have been talking about it non-stop since. They were excited to tell their teacher all about it this morning - which is the highest of compliments from them these days! It was a great event and a really lovely way to spend a sunny afternoon.

Powerscourt Estate have a wonderful programme of events lined up for the year ahead and I highly recommend checking them out. You're bound to find something suitable for your family. Or for yourself!

Disclosure: We were invited by Powerscourt Estate to attend the Sensory Nature Trail for the purposes of review. All opinions are my own, however, and I was not paid to give them.


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