Review: Kingston MK Gymnastics Centre

I have been taking Nate to the MK Gymnastics Centre, at Kingston since before he could even crawl. Back then it was just to get out of the house and converse with other mums. For a long time I haven’t even been able to go because, annoyingly, the “Play Gym” is not open at weekends, which means (as a full-time working mum) we haven’t been able to take him. However, they were open over the Christmas break, so we decided to take advantage of being off work and take him there.

Play Gym

The gymnastics centre runs play gym sessions every day in the week, Monday to Friday, check out the timings and prices on their website. This session is where the majority of the centre has play equipment, suitable for babies to perhaps 5 years old. They have toys for young babies to play with and for older children: a bouncy castle, a mini climbing wall, a lovely playhouse, a ball pit, a giant metal airplane that moves (seen that in costco!), several different sizes of slides, see-saws and climbing equipment and then they have a lot of the gymnastics equipment to play on, including low trampolines, bars, balance beams, and several big pits full of foam for the kids to jump or somersault into (lots of fun). They have a changing room where you can leave your shoes and bags, and they provide biscuits and juice, with an area of tables and chairs to eat/drink them.

play gym aeroplane

There are two other play gyms in Milton Keynes that I know of: Arabian Gym in Bletchley and MK Springers in Kiln Farm. I have to say, having been to them all several times, I do prefer Kingston, it is much bigger with more choice, BUT, they are not open on the weekend for the play gym, therefore we are very restricted. The Arabian Gym is my next favourite, they run sessions on a Sunday morning which we have been to many times, they also do a song time at the end of the session with sticks, which Nate loves. Finally there is Kiln Farm, yes it is cheaper and closer to where we live, but they are pretty firm about their timings, you can’t just show up and it appears to be just a one hour session. There is a lot less non-gym equipment here too so Nate got bored quite quickly with Kiln Farm.

bletchley leisure centre


What’s your weekend bucket list?

This week, during my lunch breaks, I have been reading a couple of kindle books, from the series: What the most successful people do…

The one I am currently reading is What the Most Successful People do at the Weekend. I found this amazing book through the recommendations of a friend.

working mums successful

This book has some fabulous ideas about what we should be doing at the weekend, and making us look at the weekend in a new light.

For one thing, did you know that we have more awake hours in our weekend then we do hours in the office? (assuming you work a 37 hour week like I do). Therefore, if you are a full-time working mum/parent like I am, there is plenty of time to make our weekends meaningful, AND more importantly even though we are full-time, working life doesn’t actually dominate, we spend more time out of work than in work. It’s good to remember that!

Did you know that we only have about 1,000 weekends with our children at home? (Assuming they stay at home for 18 years). Therefore, do we really want to waste the precious few weekends we have with our children, because currently many of us probably do waste our weekends. By waste I mean spending time not doing something that you are passionate about, or something that makes you very happy.

The book advocates a few things:

  1. Minimise the time spent on chores (at the weekend), chores could take-up the whole weekend if you let them, instead try to do them in discrete blocks of time (perhaps during the week).
  2. Try to minimise time sitting around idly watching TV (unless that is your passion).
  3. Try not to plan your weekend during the weekend, otherwise you would waste a few precious hours doing nothing, instead plan in advance, the author suggests that by planning fun activities in advance we get the added benefit of looking forward to something.
  4. Plan your weekend into 3-6 chunks of activities, importantly: choose something fun for Sunday evening to avoid Sunday evening blues.
  5. Finally, draw up a 100 dreams list, of things to do at the weekend (your bucket list)

The last one I thought was a particularly great idea. The author suggests that each family member write down up to 100 things that they would LOVE to do at the weekend. BUT, it must be something in your price bracket and within a distance from your home you would be happy to travel at the weekend. My husband and I have already started working on our bucket list, and I cannot wait for us to start living our dreams every weekend.

Some highlights from my list, which I haven’t finished yet are:

  1. Rent a narrowboat for the afternoon/day along the Grand Union Canal
  2. Go with a group of friends with all their children to a theme park
  3. Take a picnic and attend the open air cinema
  4. Go with a group of friends/family to a local karaoke, and sing (I love singing!)
  5. In the winter have afternoon tea by the open fire in Whittlebury Hall

I only have about 20 things on my list at present, so I would love a helping hand…what is on your weekend bucket list?

I’m sharing this post as part of the welcome to the weekend blog hop. Please leave a comment for me, then click the link and join in.

You might also like to read:

How often do we do things on the spur of the moment?

12 Classics in 12 Weeks


Toddler Splash! (Wolverton Swimming Pool)

The last few times that we took Nate swimming, he had a bit of a meltdown and was very clingy, which is surprising because we did Waterbabies lessons with him, so anyway we thought we would try something else to help increase his confidence. We decided to the try our new local swimming pool at Wolverton, because they were running a “Toddler Splash” session, which sounded like fun.

Being a new pool the facilities were lovely, clean and modern. There were plenty of changing rooms, and even several giant family changing rooms with a baby change station. The lockers come in varying sizes including some as big as a wardrobe – no seriously! This is a nice step up from my other local pool (Middleton) where you can’t even fit your purse in their lockers.

The most impressive part of the facilities however is the baby pool. It is completely separate from the big pool, a few degrees warmer and has steps leading down, with rails to hold onto. There is a snake running along the side that sprays out water, some buckets and tumblers that intermittently spray or drop water. At one end of the pool, outside of the water are pirate themed games, all in all a lovely pool for little ones.

wolverton baby pool

The toddler splash session included the addition of inflatables, balls and floats – this is what won it over for Nate – he is ball mad (well what male isn’t!) So for the first time in a while he was actually smiling and laughing in the pool, and slowly edging his way down the steps. The distraction of the toys was a good one, so I can definitely recommend that if your child/pre-schooler/toddler is having confidence issues with swimming/water. I will be looking into the toddler swimming lessons in a few months and will report back on them.

In thinking about helping him I did some research and found the following that may be helpful. Toddler swimming tips:

  • Look for specific toddler and parent sessions at your local pool, as they are more likely to be fun sessions
  • At this age swimming is for fun and confidence building rather than learning
  • Singing songs and nursery rhymes can help, particularly ones that incorporate spinning or jumping
  • Water safety is important, one method you could teach: sit down, put your hands on the side, turn over and wiggle in, hold onto the side
  • Show him that it is fun and relaxing, children learn from modelling their parents, and if you feel relaxed they will pick up on that
  • Let your toddler lead the way, even if it means just following them around the sides of the pool
  • Laugh and smile at them every time they get their face wet as if it is the best thing in the world

If anyone lives in or near the Milton Keynes area, they run these toddler splash sessions on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, Saturday mornings, and two mornings in the week. As well as many other sessions, including fun swims for older children and swim classes. Current pricing is £3.60 per adult and under 4s are free.

Days Out · Parenting

360 Play Milton Keynes

Nate is now officially 7 months old, he can sit up unaided, can feed a bottle to himself and loves finger food.

Today we decided to brave the 360 Indoor Play centre for the first time. I was sure he would be too small for everything but I was surprised to find a couple of rides we could take him on.

The place is pretty big, a giant soft play section in the middle, loads of places to sit and eat, two rides downstairs, and upstairs they had role play sections, Lego and messy play. It looks like they have sand and more outside but it was closed.

They have a separated section for toddlers, which is where we took Nate. There wasn’t much he could do since he isn’t crawling yet but he did enjoy the ball pit; of course all balls went in the mouth! There was also a little roundabout that he enjoyed and that about sums up all he could do in the soft play area. However, to the pure delight of my hubby there was a race kart/dodgems type ride that he could go on; they both enjoyed it! I then took him on the carousel.

Not loads but a nice change and a great way to spend 1.5hours! When he can crawl and walk I’m sure we will be there frequently!



My boy

Nate is 11 days old.
I love my son so much, he is so gorgeous I can’t stop staring at him. He is a good little boy. It’s been hard obviously with the sleep deprivation but I’m struggling with breast feeding. We are combination feeding though, which means breastfeeding in the day and bottle at night. However I feel like a feeding machine, he feeds for like 2-3 hours at a time it’s exhausting! But I love my little man, welcome to the world!