Playground Adventures: Shenley Brook End, Milton Keynes, IKEA and Intu

Following my adventure on Tuesday, I really needed to catch up with work so minus one short trip out for an hour or so Thursday ended up being a work day which by bedtime was stressing Jaxon out.

He’s 4 so couldn’t really explain to me how he was feeling. I’ve read a variety of articles and blog posts over the years to understand that misbehaviour can often be a sign of something else. So Jaxon being naughty etc. because he may have been feeling lonely because I was busy.

Anyway, on Friday morning while the boys ate breakfast – I cleared a couple of tasks off my to-do list so that I could free up more of the day – I decided that I may have to work into the evening or even on Saturday while the boys were out but that’s okay. Just have to do juggling when it comes to the holidays. I think in the summer I’ll book in one day a week with Grandma and Grandpa, maybe Nanny and Grandad can do something too. We’ll see what can done.

Once we’d dropped Chris at the train station to go on his adventure, we found somewhere to stop to look for a playground. Jaxon asked for a “hard: one but in the end, a “new” one had to do as I’m sure my definition would have been different to his definition.

On Instagram, I follow Laura aka MiltonKeynesKids who often posts about new/favourite adventures which often includes different playgrounds that Laura and her boys visit. (Her Instagram profile is here). Earlier in the week, I’d seen Laura post about her boys going to the Shenley Brook End playground again, so I went back on IG to find the information then we set about driving over to Milton Keynes. It’s on the far side of Milton Keynes from Bedford. (About the same time in the car as going to Ikea at Bletchley so that’s not too bad).

To get to the park, the postcode recommended is that for Cashmere Close (MK5 7FA), my sat nav brought me along Garthwaite Crescent and then the playground was on the left hand side. Jaxon was very excited to get out of the car and go to explore. He loved climbing around the castle and exploring the different levels. He wasn’t so sure about doing some of the climbing bits and did have trouble with the climbing wall on the right of the castle. He loved the slide although it was still a bit wet when he first went down.

Jaxon loved exploring the other areas of the park. He wanted to go on the big swing but decided against it when he got over there and realise the whole seat was really wet. It’s possible that had we come back closer to lunchtime it would have been dryer by then and he could have gone on it with no issues. Apart from the “baby”: swings, all the equipment is meant for bigger children rather than smaller children. Jaxon was able to do a lot of the different activities on the castle but I think if he was any smaller he would have really struggled. There didn’t seem to be any signs with age limits etc so I think the park is open to all children.

Plaque at Shenley Brook End celebrating 50 years of Milton Keynes.

While he played I read this plaque about the enhancements that were made to the park as part of MK50 (50 years of Milton Keynes). I then joined in with him and attempted to play on a few of the pieces of equipment. We played for about an hour in total and then Jaxon asked could we do something else. I was determined that we were going to spend the day having fun so next, we headed to IKEA at Bletchley. This also meant that I could put our car on charge while Jaxon played in Smaland. I grabbed a hot drink and some breakfast in the cafe while he had a lovely time playing. He absolutely loves going to Smaland and playing there (which works for me because I go get a hot drink and if I bring my laptop I can work too!).

After IKEA, we headed to the main shopping centre. In the “new bit” (Now it’s Intu Milton Keynes), there’s a small soft play area that Jaxon regularly plays on if he’s been good while we’ve done any shopping we’ve needed to get done. I think on one trip Chris stayed with him there while I did the errands rather than drag them both round.

We’d got about an hour to kill before we needed to head back to Bedford and collect Chris from the train station but after about 20 minutes Jaxon asked to go. It was quite busy so I wondered if he’d just had enough of trying to be careful around the smaller children or something along those lines. We headed back to the car and then after a pit stop in Bromham to grab some lunch from the shop there we went to the station to get Chris.

All in all I think it was a good day and we both enjoyed ourselves. I’m definitely thinking about trying to make our way around more playgrounds at weekends (and as it happens as I wrote this post a friend of mine sent me a message asking for details about the Shenley Brook End playground and also about any others I know of).

If you’re a parent or look after children, do you have favourite playgrounds to take them to? Do you look for specific equipment? Jaxon’s favourites for a while were the swings but I think he’s back on the slides being his favourites.

Friday Finds – 15th February

Friday Finds

During the week, I find all sorts of random things that I often mean to share then don’t so this post is all that.

David Tennant’s podcast – okay there is swearing in it so just to warn you all. Jodie Whittaker is his first guest so comparing Doctor Who stories and Broadchurch stories is kind of funny.

Wonder Women – another podcast I found this week. I struggled with the first episode because the volume is too quiet. My headphones were on full blast and I still couldn’t hear it. Hopefully, it’ll be better in the second episode.

Come From Away: Why we need the 9/11 musical – I’ve been practically wearing out the soundtrack. The London production opens this week and I’m really hoping I can go to see it. I’ve written before about how I remember 9/11 but it’s only in the last few years have I learnt how Gander and the surrounding towns came together to save the day. I think I first heard about it on a Billy Connolly documentary when he took part in the Newfoundland Screech In (oh and it’s one of those places that you don’t pronounce it how it’s written so I thought it was New-Found-Land but it’s almost New-Fin-Land).

Totally don’t need *another* planner but do like the look of the Erin Condren On The Go Folio or the Kikki K B6. I love this setup from Cindy LaTruce on her YouTube Channel.

Things I Learnt

Some of these things I might have already known but they are often the things I’ve looked up this week to learn more about them.

Ingenue – so an ingenue is an innocent or naive female.

Chutzpah – extreme self-confidence or audacity – one of those words I’d be able to throw into a conversation one day lol.

Hannah’s Adventures: Birmingham and #SBSEvent2019 – Part One

If you follow me on social media you will know that back in October, I was and winner of SBS (Small Business Sunday) that was created by Theo Paphitis. Earlier this week, I went on an adventure to Birmingham to attend the SBS Annual Event. This is a conference with a number of different speakers put on for the SBS Winners.

Chris went to work this morning and Jaxon and I went to knitting group as it’s the school holidays. Then after lunch (and some play time) Jaxon and I collected Chris from work and then we all went to the station at Milton Keynes so that I could catch my train up to Birmingham.

It should have been that simple. On my arrival at Milton Keynes Central, the train I was going to catch was already 2 minutes delayed – not an issue at all. I made a detour to the toilet on my way to the platform for the train then grabbed a hot drink from the kiosk to drink on the train. This was kind of mistake one but I wouldn’t know that until I was on the train.

The expected time for the delayed train got longer and longer, 27 minutes late in fact. According to the announcements there had been trespassers on the line near Wembley and that was slowing down all the trains heading northbound on this particular bit of track. I think it was delaying the southbound too but I’m not sure.

The train arrives at 1650ish and all the people who had been waiting then get on the same train. I ended up stood in the end of the carriage – which wouldn’t have been a problem but I was then stood trying to stop my suitcase falling over, as well as not falling over a guy’s bike and then holding on without spilling my hot chocolate (which I think was heading towards tepid by this point…).

As we left Milton Keynes station, I was resisting the urge to sing along to my music (Come From Away – Broadway Cast and Les Miserables – 10th Anniversary cast) while looking out the window. We went past what used to the railway sheds at Wolverton, then I figured I might be able to see Chris’s old office. It just happened that his old office is on a hill and had a direct line of sight to the railway so I could spot the building really easily.

Lots of people around me got off at Northampton which meant that I could get a seat. In my rush to get my suitcase on the rack and then find my seat I nearly elbowed a fellow passenger in the head (but at least I didn’t hit him with the suitcase!). I sat down with three lads who were then all discussing which train they needed to be on as more and more stops were being skipped to try and still get to Birmingham New Street on time. Two of the lads decided to get off straight away and they’d get on the next train which would hopefully still be stopping at Birmingham International Airport.

BIrmingham New Street station sign

After settling in my seat, I put in a refund request for my train ticket. I’m not sure I’ll get much back as it was 27 minutes late (so would be the same as if it had been 15 minutes late…) but it would be something. I also got a reply from London Northwestern Trains on Twitter so I think their social media person must have been on the case given the number of trains that were delayed and how many complaints they were probably fielding. I then got on with a couple of others bits. I was still working on a blog post as we started to get closer to Birmingham so I got my things together ready to get off the train.

Thankfully my lovely host for the night (friend of a friend) had just been in touch about dinner, she was doing pasta and would happily stick some more on for me. Yes please and thank you! I offered to bring dessert in exchange – this seemed like a good idea! We agreed on it needing to be something chocolatey and I spotted a small supermarket in the station so decided that I’d grab something there and then be on the next train to Sutton Coldfield where I was staying. I also had a brief look in Foyles to see if they had any Hobonichi planners in stock but they only have them in the London stores it seems. I also stopped briefly at the Moleksine shop in the station too. (I know I know, I don’t need any more planners or notebooks lol)

I headed down to the platform and waited for the next train. It arrived within a few minutes and then there was a bit of a scramble to get onboard. I found a seat and got comfortable.

Then I almost missed my stop…

I’d been listening to the announcements and even said to myself “It’s the next one” and even then I nearly missed it! The announcements in our carriage just seemed to be really unclear, so having just caught the end of the announcement I realised we were at Sutton Coldfield so grabbed my backpack and my suitcase. My suitcase was in the overhead rack and clearly I misjudged how heavy it was or something because my wrist/arm did a funny and my suitcase ended up on the floor. I grabbed it quickly, got off the train and then accessed the damage. My wrist/hand was a little sore but no permanent damage. I decided I’d keep an eye on it and if it’s really bad, I’d cross that bridge when I got there.

I walked through the station – or what there is of a station, Sutton Coldfield station is smaller than I think I expected it to be given how close we are to the city. Then loaded the directions on my phone. Google’s directions involved a public footpath between some houses so I put my phone away and power walked. At one point my hood up to look scarier or something lol. I followed the rest of the directions and easily found my host’s house. My host was super lovely and was in the middle of making dinner as I arrived so she just added the finishing touches. My host, her friend and I got chatting and it was lovely to get to know one another and how my host knows our mutual friend (who helped me finding somewhere to stay for the night). We had dinner then shared our desserts. I then headed off upstairs. I didn’t want to seem rude but then also I didn’t want to be in the way. I’d come prepared with things to do to occupy myself and with an internet connection there’s always Netflix (or the new episode of Cold Feet that just came up on my notifications!).

So that’s Monday complete. Tomorrow I’m off back to the station to catch the train back into Birmingham then off to find my way to the venue. Hoping I will bump into some friendly faces on the way. A lovely lady called Rachel from Ashby Interiors has been chatting to me lots so I’m hoping when we meet in person we get on as well too! Right, time to schedule this post for the morning and then head to bed. Now that the bathroom is free I think I’ll get ready for bed and snuggle down in the bed. The house is a bit colder than I think I’m used to in our house so although my hands are warm from typing. My feet are cold!

Little Makes – February

Little Makes

Little Makes was started by Jemma at Thimble and Twig and Fee at One of Each, I’ve not joined in for a while but thought I’d share the projects that I’ve been working on.

A Trio of Baby Blankets

Having paused on my own projects to get a couple of Christmas presents made, I decided that I’d start this year by finishing some WIPS (words in progress).

But first up, with three (more) babies due in our extended friendship group across January, it was time to grab the crochet hook and get a couple of baby blankets made. In the end there were two boys and a girl. But, as I didn’t know who was having what, the three blankets were all sorts of gender neutral. One was nearly all blues because by the time I got to it, I either knew baby was expected to be a boy or he’d already arrived.

When it came to wrapping the present, I used plain brown paper that I had left over from Christmas along with some blue wool and these tags from I should be mopping the floor. I have some of these from Stationery Geek but they’ve ran away somewhere in with my craft bits – hopefully I’ll find them next time I have a present to give.

Progress: All finished and two delivered.

Stormy Open Back Jumper

This pattern is by Nicky AKA Handknits and Hygge. You can find the pattern here. The body was nice and easy but the lace bits on the arms is what is taking me the time. It’s knitted in the round and all in pattern so getting anywhere seems to be taking all the time but I will get there in the end!

Progress: Down to the arms – they are taking the time but I’ll get there in the end!

Jaxon’s Rainbow Jumper

I had seen a pattern in a knitting magazine for a stripey jumper, so when I asked Jaxon would he like one, he requested that he had a rainbow jumper. Rather than go out and buy lots of new wool for it, I started with my stash which meant that I ended up with some really interested contributions.

Progress: Minus the buttons for the neckline, it’s finished and ready to go.

Northern Lights Shawl

This is another project from a knitting magazine. This time it’s the Northern Lights shawl from Simply Knitting (Issue 182). Again I started with what I had from my stash. This rainbow one is Hayfield Spirit in the Zest colour way, I’m accompanying it with the Schjeepes Colour Crafter in Dordecht that I won in a giveaway from BinkyPlans.

Progress: 136 rows into it but still going! At leasto the same still to go!

Monthly Review: January

January was here and then gone so quickly! What happened?

Highlights from January

  • The month started bittersweet and it wasn’t really a highlight but the fact that I got to see a lot of old friends was a highlight. Our friend was involved in an incident at the beginning of December and after being placed on life support he had to be removed from it and unfortunately passed away. It was lovely to see everyone at Three Rivers Church, I just wished so badly that it had been under better circumstances.
  • We tried to get life back to normal following Christmas and everything else but it just felt like trying to get through January was like wading through treacle – I’m sure it probably actually wasn’t that bad but it just felt like I wasn’t really getting anywhere and then we were at the end of the month already.
  • In a completely insane and surreal moment, I was contacted by Andrea Diaz from CNN Entertainment after I’d tweeted a radio station here in the UK about how I’d been watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and had put it into practice – my photo and my essay of a comment was used in the post and then it went around a bunch of affliates too! Did you see that bit? Read here)

Top Posts Viewed in January

Goals Set for January – and the Progress

  • Start #walk1000miles2019 – Walked 104 miles in January. This was about 13 miles over the target for the month. This is great because it allows for a quieter week over half term!

Projects Worked on in January

  • Jaxon’s Jumper
  • Baby Blanket 1, 2 and 3

Books Read in January

  • The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher
  • On the Road to Here by Robert Kugler

Series Watched (Not full seasons btw!)

  • Black Lightning (Netflix)
  • Tidying Up with Marie Kondo
  • Luther (Netflix but originally BBC)
  • Timeless (Netflix)
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events (Netflix)
  • House of Cards (Netflix)
  • Friends from College (Netflix – not so keen on Season 2 – seems to be trying to fit that Friends/How I Met Your Mother idea)
  • Star Trek: Discovery
  • Grace and Frankie
  • Republic of Doyle
  • The Good Cop

Films Watched

  • Bob’s Broken Sleigh (Netflix)
  • Super Monsters and the Wish Star (Netflix)
  • Swimming with Men (Netflix)
  • 13 Going on 30
  • Leap Year
  • Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
  • The Bookshop
  • Gnome Alone
  • The Last Laugh
  • Frozen
  • Moana
  • Olaf’s Frozen Adventure

Goals for February

  • Continue with walking 1000 miles challenge. Target for February is 76.9 miles which should be relatively easy. However there is a week of half term so I’m not entirely sure if I will then be behind target but we’ll see!
  • Clear more WIPs from the knitting/crochet pile. Try to finish the Northern Lights Shawl and the Storm Skies jumper by the end of February so I can move onto something else.