Monthly Archives: December 2017

Go Ape’s countdown to Christmas checklist!

Countdown Clocks
It’s official: Christmas is less than a week away! We reckon the elves are finishing off their wrapping as we type, with Santa’s sleigh prepped and ready to carry pressies to good kids across the world!

Is Banana HQ excited for the 25th? Well, you could say that we feel like kids on Christmas morning! Bublé’s been blasting around the office for the past couple of weeks (still not bored), and we’ve managed to munch our way through a shamefully giant stash of mince pies. We’ve worked it off in the treetops – that makes it alright, right!?

The question is, are you fully ready for the festivities? If you feel a little underprepared in these final weeks, our countdown to Christmas checklist might help…

Deck the halls

If you haven’t already, it’s time to unearth those yuletide accessories from the loft, give them a dust off, and get creative! Rein in the whole family to help, especially when decorating the tree – arguably the best festive activity!

Write your cards

Be ‘that person’ by writing and distributing your cards early on, whether by hand or by post. Spare yourself any awkward moments by writing a list of names to make sure you’ve remembered everyone!

Send out invites

Christmas around yours this year? Make sure everyone knows the plan! You’ve probably had this arranged for months, but still, a gentle remind won’t hurt.

Order the turkey

The star of the show, the main attraction, the crème de la crème of the Christmas dinner. Order your turkey asap and make sure it’s free range. Nearer the big day, you’ll need to think about buying your trimmings, like the veg and Christmas pud!

Finish present shopping

That list is getting shorter, but there’s a way to go. Save yourself dashing to the shops by purchasing some Go Ape gift vouchers for your loved ones! They make the perfect Christmas gift – print them off yourself, or get them delivered to you and presented in a wonderful wallet (just make sure you order before 20th December).

Make your movie schedule

Is it even Christmas if you don’t curl up on the sofa and binge on festive films? Have a few lined up to enjoy on those chilly winter evenings, with mugs of steaming hot choccy (covered in marshmallows and chocolate sprinkles – yum).

Stock up on nibbles

We all deserve to treat ourselves at Christmas, and it’s absolutely fine to indulge so long as you stay active. Stocking up on snacks and treats with a longer shelf life will help to minimise waste, as they can be stored away for next year if you don’t eat them.

Spread the cheer

Ever thought about dedicating some of your time to the less fortunate over Christmas? Places like homeless shelters always need helping hands around now, when the winter chill sets in. Have a little search on the web to find charities and initiatives near you.

Get wrapping

Paper, scissors and name tags at the ready… remember last year when you said to yourself, “I’m never going to leave wrapping to the last minute again”? Make a start on it asap! Or you can buy hassle-free, wrap-free gifts, like our vouchers!

With all of these ticked off your checklist, all that’s left to do is relax, get into the festive spirit and have a very merry Christmas with your friends and family!

The Best Gifts We’ve Seen

We don’t know about you, but we always find that giving gifts is just as good as receiving them (and no, we’re not just saying that in case Santa’s listening).

However, finding the right one can be tricky. That’s why we searched the web for presents that help us to abide by our mantra: live life adventurously!

Whether you’re searching for a gift for the gallivanting globetrotter in your life or want to instil a little everyday exploration onto your own Christmas list, we have you covered. Here are our favourite, adventure-imbued gifts (and if you’d like to drop them off here at Banana HQ, please feel free… a monkey can dream, right!?)

Patagonia polyester jacket

Made from plastic bottles, unusable manufacturing waste and reused fabric, these light, bright and eco-friendly polyester jackets can help to keep you warm while saving the planet. Patagonia does carry a higher price tag, but its supply chain is fully sourced and their products are sustainable, meaning you can explore nature knowing that you’re looking after her, too!

GoPro

What better way to record your world travels than with a camera that was quite literally made for mad exploits and dashing deeds? You may not be rock-climbing or base jumping, but this smart piece of tech works just as well for amateur explorers as it does adrenaline junkies. Plus, with its ever-growing range of add-ons, stands and cases, you’ll have Christmas sorted for years!

Tent

You may think it’s a little too cold to be thinking about camping, but do you remember the Scout’s motto? Always be prepared! Once summer rolls around, there’s nothing better than spending a few days out in the wilderness (or in a campsite). Gift it alongside a list of dream destinations (extra points if you plan a trip around one of our Go Ape courses) or store it and some blankets in the back of your car, ready for spontaneous summer adventures!

Camping equipment

We wouldn’t be very good ex-Scouts if we set off with no supplies! Accompany the brand-spanking new tent with an enviable array of camping equipment. Now, these don’t have to be the typical, run-of-the-mill, boring, tin crockery bits; think foldable camping cookware, hammocks or a convenient coffee maker. Plus, it’s 2017 – you can even gift portable grills!

A literary adventure

If your intrepid explorer is looking for some literary inspiration, we have a long ol’ list of recommendations. To spare you from having to listen to us ramble into next year, we’d suggest travel books like Kerouac’s On the Road, Jay Griffiths’ Wild or the ever-wonderful and our all-time-hero, Emily Hahn’s No Hurry to Get Home.

Go down the nonfiction route by buying informative travel guides from Lonely Planet. Or, better still, inspire their curiosity by buying Atlas Obscura’s Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders.

Go Ape Tree Top Adventure

Now, if you’re anything like our tribe here at Banana HQ, you’ll know that it’s moments and not objects that really matter. When we all inevitably reach the end of our journey, we won’t think about new tech and toys under our tree, we’ll remember the people, the places and the memories we made.

So, if your loved one also values experiences and stories over expensive items, a Go Ape Tree Top Adventure could be the perfect gift for you! Is there a better way to welcome in the New Year than by jumping off platforms, swinging from trees and waking up the birds and bees with your best Tarzan holler? Nope! Wash away the January blues (and earn some invaluable brownie points) by zipping through the trees this winter!

Fun outdoor winter activities

Winter at Go Ape
There’s no doubt about it: winter is the most magical season of them all. Not just because it’s the season of all-things-festive, but because the winter weather transforms the great outdoors into something resembling a scene from Narnia.

While it can be tempting to stay snuggled indoors when it’s bitter outside, we think that would be a real waste of winter! We’re bigger fans of wrapping up warm, filling our flasks with a hot beverage, getting out there and embracing it! Are you with us? Great. Here are five, fun outdoor activities we think you should get involved with this winter:

Canyoning – Brecon Beacons

Heard of canyoning? It essentially involves travelling down river canyons by abseiling, jumping, scrambling, floating and swimming (the list goes on). It sounds pretty hardcore but it’s actually relatively easy, and as a plus, it’s all downhill! Wales’ Brecon Beacons are a top spot for canyoning, with numerous tour operators to chose from.

Horse riding – Scottish highlands

The Scottish Highlands are famed for their horseback riding tours, and if you ask us, there’s no better time to enjoy a leisurely hack on this rugged terrain than during winter. Book an early morning or mid-afternoon slot and ride with the sun rising or setting beside you – and prepare to be swept away by those awe-inspiring views!

Mountain biking – BikePark Wales

Wales gets another mention on our list as it’s the perfect place to tear up some trials on a mountain bike! BikePark Wales is built by riders, for riders, and is the first full-scale bike park in the heart of the South Wales valleys. There are routes for all ages and abilities, and if you aren’t a fan of climbs, you can always book yourself on the uplift. Slipping and sliding on those rocks and routes can be kept to a minimum by making sure those tyres are pumped to the right pressure!

Coastal walking – Marazion to Porthleven

The Marizon to Porthleven coastal route is arguably one of Cornwall’s best walks. Located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it offers fantastic views of Mount Bay and the enchanting castle on St Michael’s Mount. It’s a relatively easy trek but does involve a few climbs; it’s also ten miles long, so be sure to wear some sturdy walking boots! Once you’ve passed through gorgeous, sandy beaches, you’ll end up in the quaint fishing village of Porthleven, which itself has received status of being a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Go Ape – 31 locations across the UK

Come swing with us before we go into hibernation! The canopy will protect you from the elements as you make your way from platform to platform, overcoming any obstacle in your path. You’ll wobble across bridges, crawl through tunnels, clamber up nets and whoosh through the air on zip wires! Go Ape is a wonderful, wintertime activity and with 31 locations across the UK, there’s bound to be a course near you!

Catch you in the treetops soon!

Beat The Christmas Rush

Go Ape Ally Pally Blog
Do you live life on the edge? Do your hobbies include the likes of skydiving, paragliding or rock-climbing? Or, is your adrenaline-packed activity of choice leaving your Christmas shopping until the last minute?

Don’t get us wrong, our tribe here at Banana HQ love to live life adventurously. However, our idea of a daring day out involves more swinging through trees, and less fighting fellow unorganised individuals to get the last of the Christmas goods.

We don’t mean to be a Scrooge about your shopping habits. After all, Christmas can be hard if you’re not one of the thousands who crack out the eggnog and surround their houses in fake snow by the 10th of November. Not all of us can be like the early birdies who begin hoarding gifts as soon as the January sale starts, nor can we be the ones who sensibly stagger their shopping. Besides, Santa left his shopping to the last minute, so why can’t you?

The true meaning of Christmas

Well, if you fall into this category, it sounds as though you need a yuletide intervention to help teach you the true meaning of Christmas! While we can’t force you to get wrapped up in the holiday magic, we can point out a few of the serious perks of being prepared.

For starters, not even Black Friday can come close to the chaos of shopping on Christmas Eve. The elbows come out and pleasantries disappear, while the stressed-out shop assistants get an earful because all the shelves are empty. How will you possibly find anything – let alone a gift your loved one would actually like? Socks it is…again!

The whole point of Christmas isn’t the adverts or objects; it’s about coming together and making memories with your friends and family. It’s not what’s under the tree or how many presents you have, it’s the atmosphere and the opportunity to show people you care. And try as you may, the kind of gift that makes someone feel all warm inside can’t be found at 5:55pm on Christmas Eve.

So, whack out that list and start checking it twice. Write down the names of everyone you want to spoil and start thinking of what they’ll love. It could be a humorous gift that draws on a fun time you shared, a beautiful edition of their favourite book, or maybe a bunch of art supplies so they can kick 2018 off to a creative start.

Once you have a plan of action, it’s time to brave the cold and beat the crowds – and who knows, maybe even catch some festive cheer! Plus, by starting early, you’ll get the pick of the bunch and first dibs on the year’s best gifts. Not to mention brownie points to tide you over until at least next year!

Give them a gift they’ll never forget

If you’re stuck for ideas, don’t panic! There are plenty of awesome presents still to be found, and who says they need to be physical objects? We believe that the best gifts aren’t things, they’re experiences.

That’s why we think a Go Ape voucher makes such a perfect gift. Whether you’re clambering through nets, zip-wiring through the forest or facing your fears on one of our vertigo-inducing platforms, a day spent up in the canopy is a very good day indeed (and as you can buy them online, you can avoid the shops altogether – what’s not to love?!).

Give the gift of Go Ape this Christmas and watch your loved one go bananas!
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