Saturday, 20 February 2016

The Monkey Sanctuary

We were very exited to be invited by The Monkey Sanctuary to spend the day at their centre. We got to learn more about their monkeys and the amazing work they do. We had hoped to visit on a sunny day, and although the sun was out when we left home, the rain and mist appeared just as we reached Looe - not that it dampened our spirits! 

We arrived at lunch time, and the first thing we saw as we parked up is this amazing Treetop Cafe!

This really is a beatiful place to stop for a drink or bite to eat. They aim to be as ethical and resourceful as possible, which includes being a meat free establishment! There is a great menu of vegetarian and vegan meals and snacks, something I enjoyed about living in Brightron, but don't see very much in Cornwall. 

As the name suggests, the cafe really is up in the rooftop of the trees, with a lovely view looking down over the hill. We could just catch a glimpse of the sea through the weather and can imagine how beautiful it would be in summer. 

The food was reasonably priced, and absolutely delicious. My soup was full of flavour, and the Zebra loved her 'chicken' nuggets so much she ate the whole plate! We also had a scrummy carrot and lemon cake for pudding.

With our tummies full, we start the short walk down to the sanctuary. Again, the views are beautiful! The location is not just a sanctuary for the monkeys, but the broadleaf woods are a haven for many local animals, butterflies, insects and plants. They are committed to helping the flora and fauna floursh, many of which are threatened locally. 

Once we arrived we were very exited to start seeing the monkeys! They are such happy, curious animals, and even in the cold weather many ventured out to get a closer look at us and play in their large well kept enclosures. 

As we walked around, we were greeted by friendly keepers who were happy to talk about the animals and answer any questions we had. To be honest, every single member of staff we spoke to was friendly and up beat, giving a great atmosphere to our day. 

The sanctuary is not a breeding centre, but a happy home for monkeys, many who have not had he best start in life. It really is sad to think of these beautiful animals being kept as pets in tiny cages by people who just don't understand their needs.

We was surprised to see one very young monkey, Lily, who is just over a year old. Even with the strict no-breeding policy (and the female monkeys being on contraception) it seems "Happy Accidents" really can happen to anyone...

Obviously monkeys live in the trees and love to climb and explore. The centre is on many levels going up the side of the cliff so there are lots of runs and bridges for the monkeys to move between their cages. Although this is lovely for them, it may be difficult for a pushchair, so I recommend a sling or carrier for any babies.

The enclosures are clean, large and full of ropes and activities for the monkeys to enjoy. They also have inside homes which are heated to keep them snuggled and warn through our winter. 

Although some parts of the homes look like they are strewn with rubbish, these are actually specially chosen items for the monkeys to play and engage with. 
This was all explained in the education room!

Also in the room was lots more information on conservation and why and how we need to protect monkeys. 

The sanctuary gives visitors an opportunity to sponsor thier own monkey - something the wonderful Stephen Fry has done! There is a short film explain his involvement as well as the sad story behind his adopted monkey Joey. 

Underneath the monkey house, deep in the cellar, is the home of a colony of horseshoe bats. They are an endangered species, only found in the southwest of England and parts of Wales, so it's great to see thier home being protected here in Cornwall. Obviously, it would upset and disturb them if visitors constantly poked around thier dark, home, so instead there is a bat room. In here are the controls for the the CCTV which we could use to move the cameras and watch the animals. 

As we wondered around, it was great to see some workshop activities for the children. There are also lovely spots to sit and watch the monkeys - and I imagine the views would also be amazing in the sunshine!

The Zebra was also delighted to find the activity room. It is a bright, colourful rainforest themed building with lots to do. There were three big tables full of arts and craft projects with a wonderful array of materials and instructions. There was a cosy corner perfect for smaller ones and babies to play, as well as sensory smell & touch games. 

We only had time for a quick play as the rain really started to come in, but the outside play area is fantastic! There is also a smaller frame for the younger ones, but the Zebra was adamant she wanted mummy to help her climb this one! 

When we return, we can't wait to explore the grounds and trails around the sanctuary, hopefully getting to spot some butterflies, bugs and maybe animals...

I have nothing but praise for the centre. They do a fantastic job and run an amazing sanctuary. They are clearly recognised worldwide and were the first centre in Europe to receive accreditation from the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuarys. 

Tickets into the sanctury allows for free re-entry for 12 months, and we will most certainly be returning soon - whatever the weather! 

For more information, and to buy your tickets, please see their website or check out the Facebook page:

Fruit Sushi

Just a quick post today I'm afraid! Saturday's are usually our baking day, but I'm going to share our breakfast instead...

Fruit sushi is so yummy, and actually healthy - this adults breakfast is just 314 calories. 

Grab some whole grain cereals, such as cheerio's, and blitz in a blender till they are like breadcrumbs. Then grab a banana and cover in peanut butter. Roll the banana in the breadcrumbs until fully layered. Pop on a plate and cut into segments.

Put the left over cereal-breadcrumbs back into the blender and add some yogurt and fruit. Whizz until smooth, then serve with the banana as a dip.

So quick and simple, and goes down a treat! 

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Newquay Zoo

I think it goes without saying that the Zebra loves a visit to the zoo!

I know a lot of people have negative ideas of zoo's and the thought of animals being caged up is never nice. However, a good zoo is involved in conservation and breeding in order to protect species in the wild and educate the public in how they can help.

Newquay zoo are involved in lots of breeding programmes and the animals all seem happy and well cared for. I'm pleased to say I didn't see any animals displaying signs of frustration or boredom like I have in other places.

If your visiting over the winter, it's worth taking advantage of the Pushchair Monday's. 
Tickets the rest of the week are at the standard price - £13.30 adults, £10.10 child, Free under 3's. 

Also, the zoo doesn't have its own car park, but shares a public council run car park. Be aware it is not free to park after March 22nd and can cost £6 for a days parking.

Once your in the park, there is so much to see and explore! It is clean and well maintained, with lots of peacocks and other birds roaming the grounds.

There are many monkeys here, all having large inside and outside enclosures. They are all bright and curious and love coming right up to get a proper look at the Zebra!

We were very exited to see some real life zebra's, but had a disappointment. Obviously in February the weather is a little chilly and not a single Zebra was out. The Africans plains looked more Cornish Farm. I understand being winter will mean less animals wanting to be outside, but as the entrance price is the same regardless of time of year, it seems poor value. Maybe there could webcams in the stables so we could at least see what they are up to.

One area which is always a hit, is the small animal zone. There are some of he biggest rabbits we've ever seen, sleepy piggies snoring away, and a fab yard where the Zebra could get right up and pet the goats.
Word of warning, do not run up to a goat with your arms outstretched wanting a cuddle as they will charge right back at you!!!

Everyone loves to see the lions, and Newquay has a male and two females. It was lovely to see the girls jumping and playing, showing no signs of pacing or distress. 

Mummy's favourite is always the Penguins, and they clearly did not mind the cold weather! There are lots of glass viewing points in the wall, allowing little people a good view of the pool which is great.

We normally love the warm rainforest house, but most of it was closed for refurbishment. It also seemed most of toad hall was empty, I can only assume because of the time year. 
I appreciate this is normal and can not be helped, but I still feel winter prices should reflect this all week, not just a Monday.

There are two lovely play areas at the zoo, however both are aimed at older children. The toddlers loved this slide near the Penguins, but watch out as it is super fast and we must have seen at least 5 other children zoom down and go face first into the mud.

At he top of the African plains is an amazing wooden assault course. Though she be but little, she is fierce... And nothing stopped this Zebra having a go round!

We were exited to try out the dragon maze, but was rather confused - There is no map or explanation at the entrance, and after a lot of time exploring, we always ended up back at the same entrance. A walk round the maze, and we still could not find another entrance! There were also lots of places that looked liked paths, but actually were large gaps in the hedges that ended up outside the maze in random clearings. 

There is a small cafe at the zoo, but it is very small! All pushchairs have to be left outside. Outside, there is lots of seating next to the most lovely lake full of ducks and birds. In the middle, is an island with lemurs! It was great watching them while munching our sandwiches. There were also lots of cheeky peacocks who liked the look of our packed lunch!

Over all, we had a lovely day and most importantly the animals all seem happy and very well cared for. We would recommend a visit, but would advise to take advantage of the pushchair Monday offer...

Tuesday, 16 February 2016


Snakes on a plane - We've been overrun with slithery serpents!!

We had to spend a whole day waiting in for a delivery (the first warm sunny day in forever!) so needed lots to keep us busy. I've found three fab snakes, that kept both the Zebra and Mummy occupied all day.

Stick the bubble wrap to a rolling pin and then cover with paint before rolling over the paper plate. We did a bottom layer of brown & yellow, then a top layer of green. This gives a great snake effect, especially with the scale-like print from the bubble wrap.

When it's dry, cut the plate into a spiral, and shape the ends into a head and tail. Pop on some eyes and you have a tree snake! 

Cut the egg box down the middle, and on one section, cut off the end segment. Round out the sides and edges to give a smooth snake look. 
The Zebra loves mixing colours, so I use an ice cube tray to give her lots of different shades to play with.

When this one is dry, just stick on a tongue and some eyes, and you have a wiggly tropical snake!

Use green paint to cover the tube. The Zebra used paintbrushes, hands and bubble wrap to make different patterns in the paint. 

Again, wait for it to dry! Then cut a spiral along the tube from one end to the other. Start back at the same place, but a few inches in, and cut the spiral again to the other end. Shape the ends into heads and tails, stick the eyes on, and you have two coiled snakes!

I hope this hasn't been too sssssscary for anyone!

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Valentines Cupcakes

We've gone right back to basics for this weeks bake. Sometimes the simple recipes can be the nicest - not everything has to be fancy and exotic!

100g self raising flour 
100g caster sugar 
100g butter 
2 eggs 
15ml whole milk
1/2tsp baking powder 
Red food colour (use as much or little as you want depending how red you want the buns!)
Icing sugar and sprinkle for topping 
********preheat oven to 180degs

Add the butter, sugar, milk, and eggs into a bowl and mix together really well until there are no lumps of butter.

Add the flour and baking powder and mix again. I also added the food colouring at this point - but I did this myself as I use Wilton food gel which is super strong!!

Pop the bun cases into the baking tray and then spoon in the mixture. This is the best time to get a taste of the yummy cakes! 

The buns take around 15-20 long minutes to cook. You don't have to sit and watch them the whole time, but the Zebra likes to! 

Stir a little water and food colour in with the icing sugar and then pour over the buns. Sprinkle on some hundred and thousands. Then grab a cake and shove it in your mouth before mummy can stop you! Serves her right for decorating cakes right before lunch time... 

Happy Valentine's Day Zebras x