Hello October

I thought it was a few weeks that I hadn’t written a blog post then I realised the last time I wrote was when we were in Copenhagen (or had just got back). And that was August!

So what’ s been happening. Well, Jaxon went back to school in September and I’ve been trying to get back on track since some days I’m properly focused and other days I’m really not.

I’ve been working on a number of knitting and crochet projects but it feels like just as I clear one there’s another one pops up – I guess I will get there in the end! (And be able to share what I’ve been up to too).

I’ve also been working on the Equinox Crop test knit for Truly Hooked. The yarn from the neckline to the colour change is the Trance yarn from Truly Hooked – I absolutely love it and it’s for charity so there’s a donation towards Mind too.

Jaxon started swimming lessons a few weeks ago. I had been wanting to get him into lessons for a while given how scared of the water he seems when Chris and I take him swimming. He’s doing lessons with Edge Swim Gym, the team there are so lovely, in his class, there are two assistants in the pool with the kids so if any of them get stuck or just need that extra bit of help then they are there to help which is great. In fact, on Jaxon’s second lesson he got his Puffin Award which is being able to swim 50m with aids (like a tummy band and armbands). (Yes one very proud Mummy here!)

In September, I had two adventures in London. The first was to run an errand for Chris (but then I had a bit of a wander before catching the train back) and the second was to go to London with Mum to see the staged concert of Les Miserables.

On my first trip, I found a branch of Ole and Steen. When we were in Copenhagen, we frequently passed a branch in the train station but had resisted purchasing as it was pricier than other options. I bought a Cinnamon Sharing Slice and brought it home to share with Jaxon when he got home from school. Like the Ondsdagsnegl we had at Sankt Peders Bageri, it was more cake-y than pastry but that made it even yummier!

Our second trip was very exciting. Mum and I have seen Les Miserables a couple of times now in different formats, we were excited to see how the staged concert would work. Without too many spoilers, it was amazing, as we expected it to be. Michael Ball, John Owen-Jones and Carrie Hope Fletcher were amazing as we expected them to be. Matt Lucas and Katie Secombe as Monsieur and Madame Thenardier were epic too and so funny! They’d added so many ad lib bits which just completed added to it.

This last week it has been Fiver Fest here in Bedford. I’ve stopped by épanoui, The Store, Rogan’s Books and The Pavilion. You can find out more information about it here.

I’m sure there’s more that has been happening along the way but going to move forward now and fill in the gaps later.

Our Danish Adventure: Day Two

Each year we end up going somewhere different for our summer holiday. We’d look at a couple of ideas but still wasn’t sure where we wanted to go. When Chris asked me and I said I didn’t know, I showed a map of Europe to Jaxon and got him to pick. Originally he picked Oslo but in the end, we settled on Copenhagen. So here we go, our Danish adventure.

Day Two started with trying to find breakfast. There was the option to have breakfast in the hotel but it was kind of pricey per head (we’d come to realise everything is a bit pricier than the UK anyway!).

We headed to the 7-Eleven (which was our corner shop of sorts). We were able to get breakfast which was about 70-80DKK in the end so about £7-9 for all three of us. We’d look at the price of things we knew from home. For instance, 2 bottles of Coke Zero (500ml) were on offer at 36DKK. That’s about £4.50ish depending on the currency exchange. Two bottles that size at our local supermarket in the UK is around £2 maybe?

Following breakfast, we needed to get some wet wipes so we found a pharmacist (Apotek). The packet of baby wipes worked out at about £3 – I think that’s more than even a packet of named brand wipes in the UK. We’ll note for us go to Lidl for wipes too if we need them (or pack them before we leave the UK). Another thing we had to navigate was that although we just wanted to pay, we still needed to take a number and wait our turn.

Our first attraction of the day was Den Blå Planet. There’s a courtesy bus that runs from right outside Central Station to the front door of the Aquarium and you get a nice tour of the city on the way. While we were on this trip we found that Netto and Lidl are both here in Copenhagen and that maybe one of them would be cheaper (Lidl won this in the end).

We spent around two hours in the aquarium. I’m sure we could have spent more but Jaxon was still feeling the effects of the very late night and so was throwing a strop at every opportunity when he didn’t get his way.

There were lots to see both inside and outside the Aquarium. In the first two areas, there were lots of smaller tanks with smaller fishes and other creatures to look at too. In the third area, it was a rainforest area with tanks of tropical fishes. In one tank there were Piranhas and opposite were these really big fish. They were easily the same length as Jaxon and about double or triple his width.

Following Den Bla Planet, we walked to the metro station at Kastrup St and took the metro to Kongens Nytorv. We got lunch at Magasin du Nord (Department Store). We ended up with fresh bread from the bakery (which I think was an Ole and Steen concession) along with sliced cheese from the food hall/supermarket bit. (When we were in France, we found that sliced bread and presliced cheese or ham was often a cheaper way to feed us a quick lunch than buying premade sandwiches).

There was a bit of a breeze but we sat outside and ate our lunch while watching the world go by. We also looked at the buildings that were all dressed up ready for Copenhagen Pride which was the Saturday we were in the city. Next up we headed to Kastellet and Den Lille Havfrue (The Little Mermaid). We took the bus again which meant we got to see more of the city that we would have missed on the metro, which was lovely.

I was excited to see The Little Mermaid and knew it has quite of a lot of significance to the city of Copenhagen, both historical and political. It did, however, feel almost anti-climatic. We’d walked about a mile from the bus stop, through Kastellet to find her and then that was it. Maybe I was tired or something but it felt a bit like “Oh and that’s it?”. At this point, Jaxon was desperate to play Hide and Seek, so I hid behind a tree – very obvious and easy to spot but I could still see him and he got to play which helped him focus again on where we were going next.

At this point my plans ran out, the challenge with exploring with Jaxon is knowing when enough is enough and we just need to go back to the hotel and chill.

Chris came up with our next stop. We headed to the Guinness World Records Museum. Outside the Museum, there is a statue/mannequin of Robert Wadlow who holds the record of being the world’s tallest man ever at 8ft 11.1 inches (that’s 272cm!) – the current tallest living man is 8ft 2.8 inches. Even with Jaxon sat on Chris’s shoulders they were still only up to Statue Robert’s chest. (Chris’s shoulder was in line with Statue Robert’s hip!).

We had good fun exploring various exhibits and hands-on bits you could take part in. After this, we headed back to the hotel to relax as we were all getting tired and feeling it from our long day the day before. We attempted to find something for Jaxon to watch and in the end settled on what looked like the Danish equivalent of CBBC.

You can see the video of our adventure here.

Our Danish Adventure: Day One

Each year we end up going somewhere different for our summer holiday. We’d look at a couple of ideas but still wasn’t really sure where we wanted to go. When Chris asked me and I said I didn’t know, I showed a map of Europe to Jaxon and got him to pick. Originally he picked Oslo but in the end we settled on Copenhagen. So here we go, our Danish adventure.

Once we had decided where we were going, I grabbed a roll of old wallpaper we have for crafts etc and started a list of things to do, our flight information and other things to do while we were in Copenhagen. How is it there are loads of places I want to see or things I want to do until I actually have the chance to go and then get major brain freeze. At least by having this big bit of paper I could scribble down ideas as they came to me.

I started packing on Monday. I’m not sure how it happened but because of the way the baggage allowance has worked, it made more sense for one of us to focus on packing across the allowance we had. As usual, packing started with a list – where else was I going to begin?

The plan had been for Jaxon and I to go to knitting group in the morning but when we got up in the morning I felt like there was still so much to do that we decided to stay home.

While Chris finalised some work bits, Jaxon played and I tried to get together all the last bits. Chris had a couple of errands to run so I was on Jaxon duty for some of it then Jaxon went out with Chris to get some air before we sat in a car, aeroplane and train.

When 3pm rolled around and my Dad arrived to take us to the airport, there’d been two extra loads of washing done and a few tears shed.

There was a bit of traffic around Black Cat but on the whole we made good time and it was a good idea that we moved our leaving home time half an hour earlier as it gave us breathing room at the airport.

The queue for security was insane. It was really long. Now maybe that’s just how busy it is as Stansted in the school holidays but it felt really crazy. We followed the easy steps that are shown through the queue to speed up the process. While in the queue, remove devices like your phone/tablet/laptop from your bag, as well as making sure you remove wallets, belts etc. When you get to the last bit, you’re placed in a queue and at this point take your shoes off. Then when you load your tray for security you’re already almost ready. In the end, when I collect my bag and bits, I packed my shoes with my watch and other small bits then carried everything else to get out of the way of the next people.

I was behind the boys and saw that Jaxon was taken one side and Chris went the other. Jaxon was so grown up and listened so well. He had to stand in the full body scanner, then the security chap did a quick body check (Chris and I were both within eye line so it wasn’t like he was alone). The security guy then gave Jaxon a sticker as a well done for being so good. Chris’s bits got delayed so I caught up with Jaxon and we both stood the other side of security and waited for Chris. I got my bits packed in the right places and got my shoes back on.

Chris made it through and it was apparently his little Lush Bar Shampoo in it’s metal tin that was one of the things that held him up.

Once we’d finished with custom we headed to find some food as it was getting towards 5:30 and we had time to spare before our flight. We ended up at Leon. Jaxon has gluten free chicken nuggets and Chris had Vegan Wings (which are made of jackfruit). I had a Halloumi Wrap which is becoming my favourite at Leon. By the time we’d finished eating and been for “just in case” visits to the loo, our gate number had been announced so we headed to the gate. When we got there, there was already a queue forming, there’d been delays too with the plane so we had time to hang around.

In the end I gave Jaxon my hoodie and his iPad and he sat playing on the floor as the queue wasn’t moving at all. When the gate did start boarding, Chris was in the priority queue and we were in the normal queue (it worked out best this way to be able to take a carry on suitcase too). Our queue stayed completely stationery until Chris’s queue had moved through to the next bit. By the time we’d caught up with Chris on the aeroplane, he’d already been in his seat almost 10-15 minutes.

The flight went smoothly. The staff onboard were lovely and friendly. Jaxon got a high five from one of the air hostesses when we went to find the toilet before landing. Everyone else had had a similar idea as there was a queue and then we had to stand in the “staff only” area at the end of the plane because we couldn’t get back along the aisle (and when we did attempt it, it was a very tight squeeze!)

We landed in Copenhagen only a little later than expected which was good. I sent a message to my Mum and Dad so they knew we’d arrived safely and we set about finding the train.

I knew from my research it should be fairly easy. First we needed a ticket machine then we needed to find the train.

The ticket machine is bilingual so that was really easy. We got a single ticket for us all to get to København H (Copenhagen Central station). Two child under 12 can travel for free with a paying adult so although you have to make sure you still have a ticket for children, they can go free which is good.

We headed down to the platform and got a bit muddled about whether we needed to scan our ticket. Chris jumped off the train quickly to check then dashed back on again when he thought he was going to miss us. It seemed to be that if you had a paper ticket you just had to show it to the conductor when they did check otherwise you just kept it on your person and didn’t need to do anything else.

Here’s where I got a little muddled. We found our way to København H station nice and easily but once we were off the train, my directions didn’t match what we had in front of us. The station has exits through the station itself or up a set of steps at the end of each platform. I guess in rush hour this helps to move the crowds?

Anyway, my instructions had been from inside the station rather than from these steps at the other end. It was a little tense but in the end we found our way around the station and then back to my instructions. From the end of the street our hotel is on you can actually see the station, that’s how close it is!

We made it to the hotel and got all checked in. Once we were in the room we got all settled in and headed to bed. We were all shattered!

You can see the video of our adventure here.

Camping in Yorkshire: Day One

With about ten days notice, Chris announced we were going camping during the May half term – there was a debate about or not the discussion had been had previously but in the end, we just got ourselves together and set off on an adventure. Yorkshire here we come! (I know we’re in July! I’m catching up with all those drafts that I started but didn’t finish!)

Well, technically I guess the camping didn’t start until Monday but our trip started on Sunday.

After visiting our old church in the morning, we headed home to get lunch, sort out the remaining bits, load the car and get on the road.

With all the luggage backed into Zoe the EV, we decided that I’d sit in the back for the first leg (and by the time we got to the campsite along those winding, country roads it was decided that Chris or I would sit in the back on the way home too!)

Off to Peterborough

With Zoe the EV working her little socks off, we needed to stop for a charge. Chris had planned the route so that we had specific places to stop and charge. Our first stop was at the council offices in Peterborough. As it happened they were walking distance from the Nene Valley Railway. Although there wasn’t time to ride the railway while we waiting for Zoe the EV to charge, we walked to see the trains. We got to see Helga, she is a Swedish Rail Car and is orange and yellow so you can’t miss her! We also saw the MagLev Carriage which has seen better days!

Helga the orange and yellow Swedish Rail Car
Maglev train at Nene Valley Railway

Continuing to Lincoln

Once Zoe the EV was charged some more, it was time to get on the road to our final destination for the day. We would be staying at the Holiday Inn in Lincoln City Centre. The great thing about this is that the hotel has got it’s own charger (and it’s a rapid one I believe!). We arrived at the hotel and someone else had just beat us but they took Chris’s number so that they could let us know when they’d finished with the charger and we would be able to use it after them.

After we got settled in the room, we headed to the local McDonalds for tea which was very exciting for Jaxon because he’d been told he could have it but it would be later in the week.

We headed back to the hotel and got Jaxon ready for bed including a shower – he wasn’t so convinced about it but we managed to convince him to get on with it! Chris and I then sat in bed and read while Jaxon got settled down for bed. He was a bit too excited at first but he settled down in the end.

That was the end of Day One.

Come From Away #HappyCanadaDay

Wow!

At the beginning of last week, I entered a competition to win tickets to see Come From Away in London. I’ve been wanting to see it since I saw the trailer for the Broadway version (and then found out it was opening in London) so figured I would give it a go and see what happened next.

🌍 Competition time! 🌍

Help us PAY IT FORWARD this Canada Day as we take over Tottenham Court Road Underground Station for an afternoon of community and kindness.

Here’s how to enter. 👇🏻

Comment below and tell us how the message of Come From Away has inspired you.

Five winners will get to spend an afternoon with our cast, spreading kindness. They’ll also win a dinner for two at Joe Allen Restaurant and a pair of tickets to see Come From Away on Canada Day, with an on stage meet and greet after the show.

On Wednesday, while Jaxon and I shared an apple, I got a message on Twitter from the social media team to say I’d won! (Yep nearly sprayed the apple across my laptop! Oops!)

I rang Mum and we start a plan. Can Mum take the time off work? Can Dad do the school run and look after Jaxon? Can he take us to the train station too?

She goes off to chat to Dad and I have a little freak out because I’m SO excited. Mum texts back, Dad will have Jaxon so we’re good to go.

After a couple of days of being super excited, we got up to Monday and it was time for our adventure. I got Jaxon up and to school like normal (well minus me repacking my backpack with “day out” things instead of my everyday stuff) and then after a quick pit stop at the supermarket headed home to kill time until Mum and I would go to the station. (Even managed to get some work done!)

The trains were definitely on our side as we managed to get a London bound train within 10 minutes of getting through the barrier at Bedford.

On our arrival in London, we stopped to grab a sandwich and headed towards the theatre (figured it was better to kill time there if we needed to).

We found a spot to sit just around the corner from the theatre and ate our sandwiches and put the world to rights. Thankfully the sun was shining and it was warm but not too hot like Saturday!

At 12.30 we went back to the theatre and met the cast/crew and the other winners and their guests. We were each given a Come From Away pin (in the shape of a Canadian maple leaf) so that we could be identified by the cast (even if we couldn’t remember everyone’s names!). After being introduced to lots of people and told the plan we all walked from the theatre to Tottenham Court Road Station. As part of the Crossrail (Elizabeth Line) project a lot of Tottenham Court Road station has changed since the last time I think I went through the station.

At first we were a bit muddled what we needed to do and where we should stand but as the first flash mob started we relaxed a bit. Following the flash mob, we handed out the preloaded Oyster cards and holders. The first time, we were all a bit uncomfortable (I think!). We tried to give out the cards but often people were too busy saying no and walking away to listen to us. (Or we think they thought there was a catch – cos why would anything be free?)

Following our first flash mob/giveaway, we ended up going to Pret for a coffee with Mark, Jenn and Kirsty from the cast as well as a couple of the other winners from the competition. It was great fun and we talked about all sorts of different things including how Kirsty once played a Hobbit and then how tall Hobbits had to be. Actually, that started from talking about birthdays and how Hobbits give presents on their birthday instead of receiving.

Grabbing coffee with Mark, Jenn and Kirsty from the cast, Cher, Heather and My mum.

Mark is our selfie photographer, then in the picture starting over Mark’s left shoulder we have Heather, Kirsty, Mum. Then down the otherside, I’m at the back, then it’s Jenn and CherAnn. Then it was time to head back to the station for round two. Mum and I chatted to Harry (He plays Oz and other roles) leading up to the second flash mob. We figured that if we started handing out the cards as soon as the cast finished then we could catch people while their attention was still on it before they’d moved onto the next thing in their day. We definitely found it worked better. There were still people who turned them down but by getting on it straight away it definitely made a difference.

Following the second flash mob, Mum and I went to sit outside and have a snack and a drink. We talked about what show is now on at the Dominion after We Will Rock You finished in 2014. (We came to see it when I was about 34 weeks pregnant with Jaxon!). We then headed back into the station as we were getting really hot in the sunshine outside (and it was about time for the final flash mob).

Following the third flash mob, we headed back to the theatre with the cast and we were able to go through the stage door, through the corridors and onto the stage, which was so exciting! It was a bit surreal being on the stage looking out across the auditorium. We stood and counted the rows to figure out roughly where we would be seating. Actually I counted it the wrong way and we were on the opposite side to where we thought but we were still 13ish rows from the front and to one side of the row so still had amazing views of the stage and really felt like we were part of the action, rather than being off in the gods or something like that.

How cool are these lighting rigs? They are trees with the lights then hung on them which is really cool. I took the photo to send to Chris but he was busy at work and didn’t reply.

After taking photos, we headed out through the other wing of the stage, through the auditorium and then out the front door of the theatre. We had a couple of hours to pass before our booking at the restaurant, so Mum and I started by going to Paperchase as that is on Tottenham Court Road (about 10 minutes from the Dominion I think). We then went to Hema, Muji and another store (but I can’t remember which one now!). We did talk about going to Flying Tiger but we have one of them in Milton Keynes whereas are closest Muji and Hema are London. After shopping, we walked from TCR to the Joe Allen restaurant in the Strand, this included cutting across Covent Garden market as my instructions were taking me around the block rather than across it!

We arrived at the restaurant thinking we were maybe 5-10 minutes early but according to the Maitre’D lady we were closer to 40 minutes early as they had us booked for 5:30 instead. They were able to seat us anyway and we started with drinks. I ordered an “Over The Hedge”. It contained Elderflower, mint, lime, cucumber and tonic. At first, I really didn’t like the drink as the tonic was sat on top of the ice and I tried sipping it from the edge of the glass. Then I realised if I used the straw I got all the elderflower and lime taste which was great but as I got through my drink the tonic was getting stronger to the point that I didn’t drink the end of it. I guess if I had it again I might ask if they could switch the tonic for lemonade instead.

We were given a set menu to pick from which was great (sometimes less choice for me is better!)

I had:

  • Starter – Buffala mozzarella, salsa verde, cherry tomatoes, croûtons
  • Main – Cornfed chicken breast, aubergine & red pepper couscous, yoghurt, mint.
  • Dessert – Vanilla panacotta, summer berries and Chocolate tart, crème fraîche, caramelised hazelnuts.

No I didn’t have two desserts. Mum and I couldn’t decide and ended up getting one of each and going halves. Both were lovely but I think the pannacotta was my favourite out of both of them. Could have happily had another portion of that I’m sure!

We headed out of the restaurant and started to walk back towards the theatre. We got to Covent Garden market and spotted a Cycle Rickshaw, so we decided that we would go on one of them back to the theatre if we could. (I’ve been trying to embed the video here but it’s so huge that it’s not working. Try here on my IG Stories)

We got back to the theatre in perfect timing. We got settled in our seats ready for the show and I was so excited I thought I might burst. The couple next to me seemed to be having a terrible time or something. The gent looked really miserable, his partner/wife seemed to be having a better time. By the end, she was clapping along but that was only in the last song or so at the end.

It was such an amazing day and I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to go. Very grateful to my Dad too who took us to the train station in the morning, collected Jaxon from school and then collected us from the train station in the evening.

To make sure I disclaim this properly, I won two tickets to see Come From Away in London. We were “audience members” for the three flash mobs/performances in Tottenham Court Road Station. Followed by dinner at Joe Allen’s. There was no need for me to blog about it/post on social media but I have done because I want to share my love of the musical and the community around Come From Away.