Become a ranger for the day

So it’s nearly time to head to Kenya with The Big Cat Sanctuary.
So to celebrate I am running a competition to for one of you and a guest to become a ranger for the day.

To win this fantastic prize all you have to do is make a donation to my just giving page by 24th September 2022, all proceeds go straight to The Big Cat Sanctuary. For every £1 donated one entry will be entered, a random winner will be selected and announced online whilst I am in Kenya. Please note the winner will be announced online with details of how to claim, please do not accept any emails or messages contact me directly if you have any questions. Please ensure you leave your name in the comments section of your donation so I ensure you are entered.

The voucher will give you and one guest the opportunity to work alongside one of the keepers and help them tend to their beautiful cats. You will possibly assist with the cat feeding routines, possibly help providing enrichment items and hopefully leave with some fabulous photos of the day spent with some of the most awesome cats on the planet.
A light buffet lunch will be included. Your day will finish with the opportunity to hand feed one of the big cats.
No travel or accommodation is provided in this prize.

Please share with friends and family so that we can raise as much money as we can.

Important things when travelling

When travelling it’s very important to do and have some basic things, these include but are not limited to:
✅ have travel insurance
✅ research your destination so that you have a basic understanding of culture and things to be aware of whilst visiting
✅ check health requirements such as recommended or required vaccinations

If I hadn’t had travel insurance when Martin (my husband) passed away whilst we were abroad l don’t know what I would have done. They helped and guided me through the process of returning Martin back to the UK and paying for everything that was needed to do this. At that time the last thing I needed was more worry. I am also very lucky to have had such amazing friends that were travelling with us and supporting me.

You never think it’s going to be you but you just don’t know and if you’re happy to travel then you should make sure and be prepared to take on everything that comes with that.

Founders Hall – The Covid Bell

Made during the pandemic, between 2020 and 2021, Grayson Perry’s elaborately decorated bronze bell marks this unprecedented period whilst celebrating London’s great bells and their long history in marking time, mourning death and celebrating life.

You can visit Founders Hall to see the Covid Bell and more during this years open house including Sunday 11th September, Wednesday 14th September, Thursday 15th September and Friday 16th September.

Ol Pejeta Conservancy

Later this month I am off to work with The Big Cat Sanctuary’s conservation partners at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya where I will learn more about the work that they undertake and support them in completing daily tasks.

Follow me to keep updated with the trip, win some fabulous prizes and take part in Q&A sessions.

Check out my fundraising page here.

Reconnect with Nature with Out to the Woods

With our fast-paced world where we are at the end of the phone or email in an instant connecting with nature is something that we should give time to.

Sunita and the team at Out to the Woods are based in Bicknor Kent and have created just that a woodland school in ancient woodland that is offering experiences to all ages.

What is Out to the Woods?

Out to the Woods is a Community Interest Company (CIC); they are a social enterprise, and their aim is to promote well-being and resilience by reconnecting the local community with nature.

What is Forest School?

“Forest School is an inspirational process that offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve, develop confidence and self-esteem, through hands on learning experiences in a local woodland or natural environment with trees.”

Forest School is a specialized approach that sits within and compliments the wider context of outdoor and woodland learning.

-Forest School Association-

Experience the Outdoors

Yesterday I was invited to experience some of the experiences that they offer, and I learnt how to make and cook chapatis and dahl; I also got to try the spiced potatoes which were delicious.

I was also lucky enough to make flower crowns with Avril and it was great fun playing and learning how to create my very own flower crown.

Woodfired Chapatis Experience – If you’re looking to book this experience, you get to choose to make Indian flat bread (chapatis) and lentils (dahl) OR you can choose to make stuffed Indian breads (parathas) from spiced cauliflower or spiced potatoes. Next date Sunday 10th July.

Flower Crowns – please contact the team at Out to the Woods to discuss having this added to an experience or if you would like to visit them to enjoy the woodland and just make flower crowns.

Friday Woodland Tots – enjoy some time with your little ones with these sessions each being themed around a well-loved toddler book. You will get the chance to build dens, cook on the fire, make crafts, play in the messy kitchen and more. Next term starts 9th September.

So why not take a bit of time out to enjoy nature and the tranquility of one of the woodlands of Kent and enjoy one of the Out to the Woods experiences.

Canoe Wild

With many rivers and lakes in the UK exploring them safely whilst having fun is key. The excellent Canoe Wild in Grove Ferry Kent is a must if you are in the area. You can explore the River Stour using one of their canoes, SUPs or kayaks. Running from Grove Ferry and Fordwich or you could even take a trip down river to Plucks Gutter. They also do a raft building session at the Fordwich site so if there is a group of you this would be great fun activity.

They also have collaborated with ‘Euro cycle Adventures’ and ‘Cols Kent Bike Tours’ for a ‘Pedal and Paddle’ adventure break and day trips.

The River Stour

The second longest river in Kent originates as the Great Stour in Lenham and flows towards and through Canterbury where it becomes tidal and then finally enters the sea at Pegwell Bay.

The river drains many of the marshland areas with Stodmarsh National Nature Reserve being one. Stodmarsh National Nature Reserve hosts the largest reed bed in the Southeast making it an ideal place to bird watch. So, if you love nature your sure to be happy here.

Whitstable Castle and Castle Gardens 

Whitstable Castle and Gardens are nestled to the side of the main town and are a fantastic free to visit morning or afternoon out.

The Castle Gardens had a renovation completed in September 2010 when extensive work was undertaken on the grounds to achieve a stunning tranquil setting. The gardens have won numerous Green Flag awards with the latest in 2020 and I’m sure they will be awarded another one soon. 

The Orangery Tearoom is open daily from 10 am until 5 pm with a great selection of food and drinks. They also offer afternoon tea, but you will need to book at least 24 hours before you visit. 

There is a lovely pirate ship play area and the paths in the gardens are easy for pushchairs and wheelchairs to use. A great place to visit all year around with the scenery constantly changing as the plants and trees change with the seasons. The castle gardens and play area is open 8am until 6pm daily, there is a car park but note the gate is locked at 6pm.

They have a calendar packed with events on all year round, some highlights coming up in August include nature detective week and mummy mania. The castle can be hired for weddings, business events and more.

Monday, the 1st of August to Friday, the 5th of August 11:00 – 15:00

Mummy Mania – Wednesday, the 10th of August 10:30 till 12:00

Mercedes Benz World

We have been to Mercedes Benz World located in Surrey a few times over the years it’s free and there is no need to book, unless you want a guaranteed driving experience. You can pre-book a driving experience or take a chance on the day and see if they’ve got anything available, but be aware things do get booked up quickly.

Based at the Brooklands Race Circuit Mercedes Benz World has Displays of F1 cars, classic cars and modern cars. They showcase the history of Brooklands Race Circuit and house an AMG performance centre. And if you want to get more involved you can try out the race simulator which accommodates many ages or as mentioned previously take on one of the experiences they offer (these will incur a cost).

There is a cafe with a great selection of cakes and sandwiches or alternatively you could visit the bistro where you can sit and have a meal with views of the race circuit.

No matter your budget it’s a great place to visit, as if you want you don’t have to spend a penny and can have a fabulous time.

We visited this time as we had an event not too far away and decided to use the Brooklands Hotel as a base. I often use Booking.com as I find them excellent for finding local places to stay wherever you are looking to visit or if preferred you can book directly with The Brooklands Hotel.

Exploring Ham Fen with Kent Wildlife Trust on their Dusk Wilder Kent Safari

I was lucky to be invited to take the Kent Wildlife Dusk Wilder Kent Safari Tour to learn about the beavers re-introduction project.

Based at Ham Fen near Deal in Kent the beaver project is a hidden gem. Not open to the public you will need to book one of their experiences to enjoy and learn about the amazing work they do at the fen. I can’t tell you how many times I have driven past and known nothing about the work they have done. And I’m not going to spoil it by telling you everything so you can all go and enjoy one of their experiences too.

The project started in 2001 and has grown from 100 acres to 130 acres of beautiful wild land inhabiting not just the beavers but, birds, insects, cattle and water buffaloes.

I had a fantastic evening and although I hoped we would see a beaver I know these are wild animals and we are not guaranteed to see any. I saw so many other animals and learnt so much about something that is right on my door step.

I would recommend to anyone interested in nature and wanting the chance to explore somewhere not many can to take a look at Kent Wildlife’s Experiences here.

Kojak’s Travel List – Dog Travelling in Europe

We got our first family dog a beautiful Siberian Husky we named Kojak in November 2020. I knew that he would change our lives and the way we travel and explore. We have been away without him and been lucky enough to have had excellent care for him whilst we were away. But we would like Kojak to also come away and enjoy travelling with us.

One thing that we consider when looking to go away is – will we spend lots of time with Kojak?

Our first trip abroad with Kojak and we have took him out every day finding dog friendly places to visit and eat. This time in France we have not left him at all, however we would leave him if we wanted to eat out at a restaurant, go food shopping or for a couple of hours max to do an activity he could not do. My rule would be at least one night before we would leave him somewhere new on his own – this is to make him know he is safe, secure and knows we will come back in a strange place.

I was worried as this was the first time abroad with a dog but I need not have worried the Le Shuttle was great and had excellent processes in place. The time in the train was quick and Kojak wasn’t fazed one bit.  

There will be times that Kojak will not come away with us but knowing it’s an option is great as he is a wonderful part of our family.

My travel checklist for Kojak:

  • Insurance
  • Check vaccinations are all up to date
  • Animal Health Certificate
  • Return journey – appointment at the vets for tapeworm treatment administered 1-5 days before travel back to the UK. Treatment must be administered by a vet not less than 24 hours (1 day) and no more than 120 hours (5 days) before the dog’s scheduled arrival time in the UK. Treatment date and time must be recorded by the vet in the pet’s documentation.
  • Food – what can we take and what we can’t
  • Water
  • Teddies and Toys
  • Dog leads
  • Check the rules around dogs for the European country you are travelling in.

Kojak’s Travel Bag

Kojak has a travel bag that we can pick up at any moment and go with him, with many hotels dog friendly they can enjoy a mini break too.

  • Puppy Pads – these are excellent if your dog becomes unwell or if you want to use as a door mat for muddy paws.
  • Hair Brush
  • Spare Leads
  • Treats
  • Small teddy
  • Towel
  • Collapsible Drinking Bowl
  • Food Bowl
  • Poo Bags
  • Bottle of water

Please note this is my travel list for a dog travelling into Europe using Le Shuttle and you will need to ensure that you have fully checked what is required for your pet to travel.

Animal Health Certificates (AHC) replaced Pet Passports and to be honest they are a pain and you have to get one each time you travel. I advise you speak with your vet to find out if they do them or if you need to get one from another vet. My vet does not do the AHC but provided me with somewhere that could Animal Health Certificates Online I filled in the form paid and then took Kojak to collect it on the agreed date.

The certificate can be used to enter the EU & NI for up to 10 days from the date of issue.

Once inside the EU a pet can travel within the boundaries of the territory for up to four months.

Once the pet exits the EU a new Animal Health Certificate is required to re-enter the EU as the AHC is single use.

Useful Links:

Le Shuttle – Euro Tunnel

Euro Tunnel – Travelling with your pet

Taking your pet dog, cat or ferret abroad: Overview – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

%d bloggers like this: