Secret Garden Adventures

We spent the weekend having a secret garden adventure with Energizer and the Secret Life of Pets. Energizer have teamed up with the film Secret Life of Pets which comes out on DVD in December, with your chance to win your very own soft toy. Duke from the film came with us on our outdoor adventure, and here is what we got up too.

We started in our own secret garden popping on our Energizer head torches, we set out into the dark to hunt for some of our prickly residents. The boy loves hedgehogs, so we decided to see if we could find evidence of any night-time visitors. We have a hedgehog house cited at the back of the garden under the trampoline. We couldn’t find any evidence of our secret garden friend, so we left his home alone in the hope he would return soon.

secret-garden-adventure

There are lots of other smaller creatures in the garden that like to come out at night. We saw spiders, some moths and a few daddy-long-legs who were attracted by the lights. Energizer has a great range of torches. We took our Energizer Impact rubber torch, perfect for those night-time adventures. We listened out for the sounds of nocturnal animals. The only activity we heard was the rustle of bushes as our cat Magic ran out to find out what we were up too.

At the weekend there were plenty of bonfire and firework parties happening around us. We turned off Energizer Lantern and enjoyed watching the fireworks for a while before the night sky came back into view. I love looking up at the stars, and the boy was telling us all the new things he has been learning at school. His topic this term is planets and he loves to share his knowledge with us.

secret-garden-fun

Finally the boy wanted to check out the local park, we have spent lots of time there in the summer hunting virtual reality creatures, this time we were looking for the real thing. Our Energizer headlight means that we can light our way and still have our hands free. We wrapped up warm and set off to see what we could find. Duke came with us, and he certainly had enough fur to keep him warm, as it turned a bit chilly. The boy set of looking, while Dad and I brought up the rear. The park is near the sea so we could hear the sound of the water lapping on the stones, and the odd noise from a seagull. We spotted a lone jogger in the darkness complete with head torch, before setting off home. Time to warm up with a hot chocolate, and a real fire.

secret-garden-life-of-pets

The clocks may have gone back and the evenings are dark. We had fun getting out in the fresh air, which meant we all slept well. The boy wants us to make more hedgehog hotels so that we can help his favourite secret garden creatures and maybe even invest in a night vision camera so we can film our night-time visitors.

You can win your very own Secret Life of Pets character ,when you buy Energizer batteries, enter online for your chance to win Max, Duke, Gidget or Snowball. You can also go out this weekend and see if you can find any secret garden surprises in your local area.

Disclaimer Thanks to Energizer for sending us a selection of goodies to promote our secret garden adventure. All words remain our own and have not been altered.

Jungle Paradise Adventure Golf #Country Kids

The summer holidays are disappearing fast, and we have been having great fun getting out and about as a family. This last week, we were out every day either on the beach, on our bikes, one of our favourite days had to be at the new adventure golf course.

Situated at Chichester Golf course, I was excited to find out if this New Jungle Paradise Adventure Golf was anything like any of the American style crazy golf courses. I have to say we weren’t disappointed, I had looked at the website, and seen that they had wild animals, and a full-sized airplane on top of a water fall. With 18 holes and lots of watery obstacles the boy was excited too.

jungle paradise adventure golf

This is where I have a small confession, I love crazy golf, I don’t know why, it is my favourite thing to do. It makes me smile and giggle, and I usually get a hole in one. My family think it is quite sad how excited I get over crazy golf, and how I have a weird dream of one day owning my own little golf course, by the sea of course!

hole two jungle paradise adventure golfThis course didn’t disappoint, we couldn’t believe how many people were there on a cloudy Tuesday morning. You can’t miss the course as you turn into the entrance of the Chichester Golf Club. You start your tropical experience at the Kiosk, which is a fun looking jungle hut, choosing coloured balls is a nice touch, and means no arguments over who is who. There are 6 colours to choose from so perfect for big family’s. We set off for the first hole, which looked super easy, just a straight forward put through the trees. Then we realised that there are no sides in places which mean you fall of the green and drop a shot!

jungle facts

We soon decided that the boy should have two try’s at each hole and took the lowest of his two scores. There was some waiting around, as each of the 18 holes had a family on it, this proved a good solution to keep the boy’s interest. Now I may get holes in one, but the format usually follows that Dad M wins, and I come last. with a maximum score on each hole of 6 things did not start well for me.

jungle paradise animals

The holes are very clearly marked, everything is clean and with sound effects, and the summer sun it felt very tropical. There are some great information trivia boards with a quiz on your score card. These also give you a little insight into the theming behind the Jungle Paradise Adventure Golf. We enjoyed the holes round the lake and waterfall, before curving round the back and discovering the boys favourite thing. The raft! Yes the boy decided this was wicked and spent ages pulling everyone willing to let him across to the next hole. (there is an alternative route round the raft)

the raft at jungle paradise adventure golf

Each hole is a good mixture of easy, hard, and fun. Snaking through and even under the waterfall, with a cheeky little surprise. Looking for the animals hiding round the course, the boy was aiming for the crocodiles, just so he could use the net to scoop the ball out of the water. It came as a bit of a surprise to everyone when it was the boy who scored the hole in one! I even managed to capture the moment on video. So here is our mini video of our day out.

We had a great time at the Jungle Paradise Adventure Golf, and will certainly be back. The cost for one round, for a family of 4 is £25, which did seem a little expensive, but we were on site for 2 hours, the second round if you fancy it is half price. You can also go to the club house for a spot of lunch where they have a new kids jungle menu. We notice a traditional crazy golf course, as well as the usual driving ranges, so you could spend a day with something for everyone.

And here is our final winner, by one point, and yes, I came last!

the winner jungle paradise adventure golf

The New Jungle Paradise Adventure Golf gets a big thumbs up from us, and if you live locally is certainly worth a go, why not keep up to date with them on their Facebook page. Where you can see the monthly draw winners, and hopefully spot some special offers.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Disclaimer: we were given entry to the New Jungle Paradise adventure golf in return for our review, our opinions have not been altered.

Ghosts of the Forest by Steve Backshall

Ghosts of the Forest by Steve Backshall is the second in a series of books called the Falcon Chronicles.

Saker and Sinter have split up. Sinter is nursing in the shanties of Ho Chi Minh city. Saker is with the peace-loving Penan helping them protect the orang utans and save their own forest homes, as unscrupulous loggers wreak destruction. But they are being watched. And hunted. The Prophet has not forgiven their betrayal. Escaping the Clan takes …

Ghosts of the forest is described as Action Danger and Adventure, and we think this is a fitting description. The boy has started to read this book, it is very grown up and at points he has struggled to read this on his own. We decided this is more of a book to read together. It is an exciting and quite thrilling story with elements of mystery in it and certainly has captured the boys imagination and has encouraged some good questions. These have mainly been about words he hadn’t understood, and have certainly enriching his vocabulary.

For Steve Backshall fans ghosts of the forest doesn’t disappoint, it is full of animals as well as some interesting characters, and you don’t have to have read the first book to be able to understand the plot. I think when we have finished reading this one we may go back and read Tiger Wars.

We think this is a good read, although I would recommend it for competent readers and slightly older children as the boy did lose interest with the size and amount of pages. I think the ideal age for this book would be 7+ and we gave this book a 4/5

Have a look at the Orion Star website HERE for lots more Deadly 60, and Steve books…

We were sent this book by Orion Star as part of their bloggers network, the opinions remain ours and have not been changed or altered.

Go Ape Tilgate Park Crawley

When we were approached to visit and review Go Apes new treetops course at Tilgate Park Crawley I don’t know who was more excited me or the boy?
I know as the time drew near I was a bit nervous as to whether I would end up letting the boy down by not being able to go up the trees with him. I needn’t have worried as it was AMAZING! (In the words of a 7-year-old)

go ape tilgate park

Go Ape Tilgate Park, Crawley was very easy to find and get parked and we arrived in plenty of time for our booking slot of 11:45 they do tell you to arrive 15 minutes early. We were taking part in the Junior tree tops adventure, there is a larger course for adults and children over 10 and 1.40cm tall. The first thing you are asked to do is read some basic safety instructions and sign a disclaimer all fairly standard. We were then given wrist bands and sent off for our harness and safety briefing. You don’t have to walk far from the cabin, but we did have to wait as other families were finishing their adventure. Don’t worry though as you get a full hour from the time you finish the safety instructions, and this is plenty of time to get round more than once. We were both fitted with a harness, and I would advise you have comfy clothing, and possibly long sleeves as it was a little chilly out of the sun.

ready to go ape

We were taught how to clip our Koala safety clips to the main wire of the course and in no time at all we were away. It took a few goes to work out how to get the safety clip over the track, but soon the boy was way ahead. First you climb on the left to a circuit that took us about 10 minutes to complete, with lots of bridges and ropes and a tricky v shaped net. I think I found sections more difficult as the safety line was above my head and it kept catching my ear! I would advise tying hair back well!
Then at the end of 5 or 6 bridges I wasn’t counting you come to a zip line. Not something I can say I fancied but its the only way down. I wouldn’t say I had a soft landing but I’m sure it was amusing for those other families watching.

treetop junior tilgate park

Back round at the start you are asked to do the same course again but this time no holding onto the green side ropes, easier said than done. Again another perfect zip wire for the boy, and an amusing landing from me! Now you are sent up on the right side of the course, this is defiantly more tricky, it has no green handrails, and has some tricky rope parts. It is finished off with yes you guessed it another zip line! This time I managed to land ok, but was told by the boy it wasn’t great. Oh well, thank goodness that’s all over but no! We were still in time for another go. We worked out an average of 10 minutes for the short course and 20 minutes for the harder one, so you can fit in 2 of each. This works well as although it feels like it was really busy when you are up in the trees the kids are really spread out.

tilgate park

We were very lucky that the man who had booked us in was on the gate when we arrived back to ground level and let us have a 3rd go as he knew we were reviewing, but at this point I think most sane parents would have had enough. I did however manage on my 5th Zip line experience to perform a perfect running landing, for which I am very proud! On arrival back on the ground everyone is given a certificate even me, and a badge which is kind of cool.

And what did we think?
I can honestly say it was like nothing I have ever done before. I know it was the junior course, but I felt safe at all times and despite the height and one slip, I am still buzzing now! I would so love to do the adult course and think I might have to treat the boy to another go possibly at one of the other sites. I liked the site, but having been to look round the full size one I would say the Junior one is noisy as it is next to the playground and the road. It might have been nice to be tucked away a bit more in the forest, but I guess this is more convenient.

The boy?

His video explains what he thought.

He loved it too, and was still talking about it at bedtime. He was tinged with a small amount of disappointment that he wasn’t old enough or tall enough to do the adult one, but this is something to look forward too.

Thank you to Go Ape for allowing us to come and have our very own treetop adventure, our entrance was given to us but the opinions remain ours and are unaltered.

A day out at Tilgate Park Crawley

Today I had the boy all to myself, as the school holidays are always a bit of a juggling game! So I was thrilled to be asked to go and visit the new Go Ape at Tilgate park Crawley. But what was an even greater surprise was the rest of Tilgate park.
I had packed a picnic, and planned to have an explore after our tree climbing adventure, in the end we stayed for 6 hours! You can read more about our Go Ape adventure separately, but I would recommend a day out at Tilgate just as much as climbing the trees.

The park was very well signposted, and surprisingly easy to find with a 7-year-old navigating from a map. The car park on site is £3 you pay on entering so no extra fuss having tickets and that is for the whole day, so no rushing back to the car. We found a lovely shady spot to park and although the park seemed busy there were plenty of spaces. The toilets were large and pretty clean for public ones, and had lots of baby changing facilities. There is a restaurant on site called Smith and Western, we have one in Chichester and it does great American style burgers.

This park seemed huge, and as we explored it seemed bigger. There is a lake area lots of open grassland for games and picnic’s. There was a lovely play area close to the Junior Go Ape course for the smaller ones. There is forest with mountain bike trails, and pretty walled gardens. The gardens were beautiful and had a maze, café and even a small zoo. (its £2 adult £1 child) We didn’t go in the zoo area but were told they have lots of petting animals and even mere cats! The boy had great fun in the maze, and I was timing him to see how long it took him to find the middle without cheating. He didn’t want an ice-cream so we explored the other side of the garden where there is a lovely picnic spot with benches. We had a great game of capture the flag, with some fab places to hide.

Then it was time to go, as I didn’t want to meet the rush hour traffic. This park is fantastic and if it was on my doorstep I would be very excited as the boy would love to ride all the dirt trails in the forest. I think it will be a mission now to find something similar a bit closer to home, and if not we will bring Daddy back for a look.

Lego Chima challenge at Chessington

We were lucky enough to join Lego and Chima challenge teams at the launch on Monday at Chessington. The boy had entered a Lego drawing competition with the club magazine and was lucky to be chosen as one of only 15 winners.

We set off early with a friend to keep the boy company, and with no traffic on the road arrived in super quick time! We were greeted with our press pack, and the VIP lanyard made the boy very happy as he enjoyed the feeling of being a VIP. He kept saying he had never been important before!
Afterwards we were treated to a lovely brunch, with animal themed biscuits, swamp juice and lots of pancakes and donuts. There were some new Lego Chima sets to look at and test, some fun interactive displays, colouring and puzzle sheets. We had our fill of food and settled down to watch the Chima film, which the boys loved. I can see the appeal for boys as it is full of action, fast speedors, and animals. I’m not so sure about the appeal for girls, although there are female characters.

We enjoyed the tomb blaster ride, and then went to try the new Zufari ride. I won’t spoil it for you as it is a great introduction to a ride. You are loaded onto a jeep, travel on into the park to see the animals. unfortunately it was a little chilly, so most of the animals apart from two brave zebra were sheltering inside to keep warm. I can see on a warmer day this will be a great and unique ride for the uk and defiantly worth the queue.

We popped back to the tent to catch up with the Chima team, and it was great that they recognised us (read my Manchester post for our first Chima experience) they christened the boy krispy creme boy!
The challenges have changed but they are just as much fun and the two boys really enjoyed themselves. So much so we went back later in the day for another go. The boys both had their scores added to the leader board and goodie bags with stickers, tattoos, mask and a magazine. This time the prize is a chance to go back to Chessington in the October half term and have a speedor challenge with the other winners. The overall winner will be given a hotel stay and passes to the park, a great prize!

We went back into the park for a few more rides (it was such a shame the runaway train was closed) before stopping back at the hotel for a bite to eat. We think the new ride is a great addition to the park and I can see will be very busy in the summer.

Lego Chima will also be a hit as both boys spent the journey home planning which setsto buy, and how they would save up for them. They loved the animal connections and had some great conversations on the way home!