Monthly Archives: November 2015

Christmas holiday hacks: top tips from the team

Christmas Hacks

Christmas should be a relaxed, merry old time of year; but, for many, it’s a period of intense stress – shopping, cooking, organising and juggling nativity plays with work parties, all whilst trying to keep every member of the tribe happy.

Does it make your palms sweat just thinking about it? Take into account the extra dent it makes on your December pay check, and it’s no wonder some of us experience a festive burnout.

However, we like to think the little things, when put together, can make a big difference. So, to help inject a bit of creative fun back into Chrimbo, save money and reduce stress, the team at Go Ape have compiled the following yuletide hacks…

Bulk up

Is your tree a little bare and patchy in places? Give the illusion of a full and bushy festive tree by using green tinsel or artificial pine garland and wrapping it around the inner branches – once covered in plenty of decs and twinkly lights, no one will ever know! We won’t tell – promise.

Festive aromas

Make your home smell of Christmas. How? By simply boiling cloves and cinnamon sticks in a pan! The fragrance will soon fill each room, and your guests will feel instantly warm and fuzzy inside!

Chop it up

Naturally, we think the most beautiful decorations are wooden ones. Chop the trunk of your Christmas tree into “slices”, get all the family to decorate their own (write the year on it so you can remember ‘Christmas 2015’ in years to come), and attach some red or green ribbon. Voila! Free Christmas decs.

Napkin origami

Another tree-themed hack here: this time, you can work a bit of origami napkin magic and fold them into Christmas tree shapes, complete with a mini bauble on top. It’ll save you buying special festive napkins or napkin rings!

Branch out

If you need to trim your Christmas tree in places, don’t throw the cuttings into the bin! Instead, use them as stylish and minimalist features by placing the cut branches into glass vases half-filled with water. Simple, elegant and Christmassy – what’s not to love?

Candy Cane Placecard HoldersCandy card holders

Secure three mini candy canes together, place with the round sides down and use either as name place holders or to inform your tribe of the food they are about to devour on your spread. A really fun idea!

Festive snacks

For a platter of nibbles with a twist, why not create Christmas-tree inspired pitta breads that are as delicious as they are festive? Cut toasted pittas into triangles, top with homemade guacamole and diced red peppers and place a stick of pretzel into the bottom (the tree trunk). Yum!

So, there you have it: a selection of our favourite Christmas hacks. While we can’t promise they’ll stop Crazy Aunt Maude drinking more than her fair share of brandy or the turkey burning to a crisp, they could just make your life a fraction easier and – more importantly – you should have a lot of fun in the process!

Q & A with Bryony Morris, Crawley Tilgate Park

Byrony Morris

Go Ape Instructor Byrony MorrisBrilliant Bryony has been part of the Go Ape tribe for two seasons now, having started as an instructor at Margam Park, and now firmly settled into life at Crawley Tilgate Park.

With a degree in Sport & PE under her belt, she’s been in the outdoor industry for some time and, as you can see from the following Q & A session, her zest for life and all things adventure is somewhat contagious. Here, she tells us about some of her most exciting escapades to date. Have a read and tell us you don’t feel inspired to get out and live life more adventurously!

Where is the most adventurous place you’ve been?

Wow. Now this is hard because I have been to some very adventurous places! But if I had to pick one it would have to be the beautiful country of New Zealand. Never before have I visited a country where they live and breathe adventure quite like the Kiwis do. From the two months I spent there I found that their laidback lifestyle goes hand in hand with their sense of adventure and their love for the great outdoors. I mean, with the amazingly beautiful scenery they are surrounded by, how can you not fall in love with the place?! My trip was packed full of adventures, including hiking the Tongariro National Park, jumping off a canyon in the South Island (ropes firmly attached, don’t worry!), mountain biking, surfing, jet boating in Queenstown, sailing Lake Taupo and hurling myself down a mountain on a tin tray – to name but a few. If you relish that feeling of doing something crazy (maybe ticking something off the bucket list) or experiencing natural beauty that dreams are made of then YOU MUST GO! Adventure is in their blood, and as a nation they are pretty damn friendly, so it’s just about perfect, right?!

What’s the most adventurous, craziest thing you’ve ever done?

Two moments spring to mind with this question:

1. A week long hike of the Andringitra mountain range in Madagascar. At an altitude of 2658m this was one of the most challenging and adventurous things I have ever done. This was my first ever trek at high altitude, living off the contents of my backpack and camping on cliff edges surrounded by lemurs – it almost seems unreal when I look back on it today. At the time, I genuinely thought I was crazy embarking on such a challenging and risky trek along narrow ridges, with rocks crumbling under my feet and moments of pure exhaustion. HOWEVER, I made it… and it is one of my proudest achievements to date. The views weren’t too shabby either!

2. I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie, so in New Zealand last year I decided it would be a great idea to jump off a canyon in what is named “the world’s highest cliff jump”. I have never been so terrified in my entire life. Standing on the edge of that canyon thinking “WHY AM I DOING THIS?!” In the jungle of adrenaline this jump is the gorilla. Once you decide to jump off that edge after countless words of persuasion from the instructors, you experience a 60-metre freefall, followed by a 200-metre swing over the Shotover River. It’s fair to say that was definitely one of my craziest decisions, but I don’t regret a second of it! Just awesome.

What did you get up to on your recent trip to Barcelona?

In November 2015 myself and a group of five other Go Ape instructors from Crawley Tilgate Park thought we would book a spontaneous last-minute getaway to the beautiful city of Barcelona. This was five days of walking, cycling and climbing the length and breadth of this gorgeous Spanish city. Some of the highlights included cycling up to Park Güell – a Gaudi-inspired landscape garden with beautiful buildings, hidden caves and some seriously good views. Little do the tourists know that if you hike up the steep hill just beyond the park you will reach a secluded and outstandingly beautiful summit, offering 360-degree views of the city, away from the hustle and bustle of the snappy-happy tourists. Another cool adventure was walking up to the 17th-century hilltop fortress Montjuïc castle which overlooks the ocean and the city. It’s so worth the many steps which take you to the top! A trip to Barcelona wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Camp Nou to watch FC Barca play a football game, as well as evenings filled with mouth-watering tapas and Sangria. It was the perfect break after a busy summer of Treetop adventuring in Crawley, and no doubt there will be many more mini-trips to come for the team!

Why do you love to live life adventurously, and why do you think others should do the same?

I think almost everybody would like some more adventure in their life. I’m the kind of person with the attitude of “Dream it, Believe It, Achieve it” and I honestly believe that everyone can be more adventurous if you set your mind to it. You don’t need lots of time or money to have an adventure, or have the fitness of Bear Grylls, or have lived in a cabin in the mountains of Canada. Adventure is so much closer than you think and even the smallest of changes to your attitude and therefore your life can get you living life more adventurously.

I breathe adventure. If I’m not on an adventure, big or small, I’m dreaming and planning my next. It’s how I live and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I try my best to look at the opportunities and not the restraints in life, which is why I attempt to make the most of every day; whether it is taking a different route home from work, or waking up that little bit earlier to take a walk before the world wakes up. That’s why I love my job as an instructor at Go Ape – because of the opportunity it gives me to inspire people to challenge themselves and do things they wouldn’t normally think about trying. It’s so easy to slip into a mundane 9-5 routine, but people need to think about the flipside of that and look at the 5-9 routine. That’s a whole 16 hours of free time which is screaming adventure! Having a sense of adventure makes every day different; you will fear less, do more and your dreams will become a reality if you want them to. So, get out there people – and don’t look back!

We hear you have some YouTube videos in the pipeline – what can we expect from these?

This is a new project of mine in an attempt to put across what is, to me, a very important message:

Life is a one-time offer, so use it well.

I’m currently planning a YouTube channel to focus on this message and to encourage people to live their life a bit more adventurously, make a positive impact on the world we live in, and reiterate the importance of sustainable tourism, travelling on a tight budget and encouraging women, in particular, to unleash their inner adventure and make a change in the world – no matter how small. I’m looking at making adventure travel videos that will inspire more people to open their eyes to adventure and see just how easy it is to make a positive impact in the world and travel without breaking the bank. You can expect many crazy adventures documented through film, handy hints and tips on travelling, honest travel guides and general lifestyle ideas to live your life to the fullest. So watch this space!

Who’s the most adventurous person you know?

The most adventurous person I know is a very close friend of mine. She lives and works in London in a 9-5 office job, so naturally relishes ANY opportunity for an adventure. For example, there are several occasions I can recall where I have received a text in the early hours of the morning saying “Just about to book flights to Iceland… fancy it?”. As you can already tell, these propositions are always VERY tempting! Another example was when she rocked up to my house in her old banger of a car which was falling apart at the hinges, and we spontaneously went on a road trip with an old school paper map not knowing where we would end up. Those adventures are always the best; the ones that barely cost a thing yet you have the best time exploring somewhere you’ve never been before with one of your best buddies. It just goes to show that if you dream adventure, and believe you can do it, you can ALWAYS achieve it. So she is definitely one of the most craziest, adventurous people I know, for sure!

Spend time, not money!

Go Ape Gift Vouchers - Gift Adventure

We heard this recently and it really struck a chord: Collect moments, not things!

In the fast-paced world we live in, we tend to get wrapped up in the idea that material things are what people want for Christmas. But take a minute and cast your minds back to Christmases of the past, or any other time of the year, for that matter. Chances are it’s not the presents you remember, it’s the people, the experiences, and the way they made you feel.

And kids are just the same – as shown in the latest emotional Ikea advert, which featured a group of young children who were given the task of writing two letters: one to Santa and one to their parents. The one to St Nick, unsurprisingly, included items such as toys, musical instruments and games.

The letters to their mums and dads, however, were a completely different ball game. Their wishes included to “spend more time together”, to be able to spend time with their parents for “one whole day” – and (adorably!) one child had the simplest of requests: “to be tickled”!

At the end of the ad (by this point we’re in tears, and so are the parents in the film!), the children are asked which out of the two letters they would send if they could only pick one. And it’s the wishes to spend Tree Top Adventure Go Apemore time with their parents that they choose.

So it confirms what we thought: this Christmas, we should give the gift of time.

Or the gift of experience and the gift of adventure. After all, these are the things that build relationships, build us as people, and build memories to last a lifetime.

Spending time together needn’t involve copious amounts of money, either – often, it doesn’t need to involve any cash at all! A walk in the woods, for example, a bike ride along the coast or an outing to the local library all give us the opportunity to engage, interact and have fun together.

This year, why not let your family unwrap the gift of adventure?

Give them something to look forward to in the New Year by treating them to vouchers to come to Go Ape with you and the rest of your tribe! Let them unleash their inner Tarzans, all whilst spending time with the people they love most in the world: you. It won’t break the bank, but will give them a confidence-building experience that they’ll treasure long after the festive season ends.

Treat someone to an adventure with a Go Ape gift voucher:

BUY GIFT VOUCHERS

Winners of the Lloyds Bank National Business awards!

Winners

Last night, some of the Go Ape tribe dusted off their gorilla suits and donned their glad rags hoping for win at the Lloyds National Business Awards. And we did just that!

Wowing our customers is at the heart of our business so we’re chuffed that the judges recognised this. From our welcome at the Go Ape cabin when you arrive, to each and every celebration at the end of our experience. We pride ourselves on ensuring every single customer leaves with a smile (preferably monkey-sized).

We don’t like to go on about it, but that probably explains why our customers keep coming back. All 5 million of them!

Here’s what the judges had to say:

“Go Ape go the extra mile when it comes to Customer Focus –  they demonstrate strong ethics, excellent financials, continued innovation and a high level of commitment to delivering great experiences for their customers, or rather adventurous Apes!”

Our Chief Gorilla, Tristram Mayhew, commented:

The National Business Awards are like the Oscars for Enterprise. It’s a good discipline to strive to be the best you can be, and the judging criteria really helps us focus on what we can do better. It’s not about winning, it’s about learning how we can look after our customers better. That said, winning is tree-mendous!

A BIG well done to every single one of the Go Ape tribe for making it all happen – every single day!

Word travels fast thanks to Twitter:

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