If you’d asked me five years ago to make a list of the places I’d like to live it probably would have gone a bit like this: London, Brighton, Liverpool (I love Liverpool. Brilliant city). Short and to the point. Milton Keynes wouldn’t have been on that list, in fact when I was a teenager I remember categorically telling my mum I thought it was weird that people wanted to live here. I always saw it as an odd town, it had no discernible centre, no history. Why would someone want to live in a place like that? Fast-forward ten years and here I am. Not only am I actually living in Milton Keynes (though if you’re feeling posh you’re allowed to tell people you live in ‘North Bucks, darling’) but I’m a fully paid-up member of the MK Fan Club. Not that one exists. But I’d definitely be on the committee if it did. Let me explain. Milton Keynes is a big town made up of lots of new estates, old villages and smaller towns (Wolverton, Bletchley, Stony Stratford). 34 square miles to be exact. It was designated a ‘new town’ in 1967 and we are 45 miles north-west of London. The city centre consists of a shopping mall, entertainment district, complex with indoor ski slope/skydiving and theatre. It takes 30 minutes to get into London on the fast train which is comparable to places like St Albans and Chesham – but way cheaper! Our lovely little house is on one of the newer estates near the M1, a really quick 5 minute drive from the train station which is useful for travelling into London. We have an absolutely massive park a 10 minute walk down the road which is where we spent a blustery Saturday morning a couple of weekends ago watching my mum run her first ever 5k race. What you can see up there is an aerial wakeboarding set-up on the lake though you’ve got to be pretty mental to be doing that in March (nuff people are mental round here and they always look FREEZING). See? It’s lovely and green round here. Miles and miles of gorgeous Teletubby land-esque parkland to march the kids round. It’s all really pram and bike friendly; MK has 272kms of ‘redways’ which are designated walking/cycling paths so you don’t have to ride your bike on the busy roads (and all those bloody roundabouts). The shopping centre here is ace. You’ve got all the high street clothes shops you need (though I mostly spend all my time and money in Gap cos I’m getting OLD) and you can visit all the shops while staying undercover. Perfect for the winter; who has time to be taking their heavy cold weather coats on and off each time they step into a shop? Naaahh. One thing I love about the area that I live in is its approximation to the places I spend most time. Our house is five minutes from the city centre, three from our health club and five from Waitrose. Plus we’re a short stroll from loads of parks, one of which has a pirate shop which is insanely awesome. Unless you get sea sick, like me. Speaking of the health club, I bloody love that place. Indoor and outdoor pools, sauna, steamroom, jacuzzi, gym, tennis courts, softplay, BAR. I’ve been 4 times already this week: I definitely get my money’s worth. And it’s 0.4 miles away :D Hux is handsomely modelling Muddy Puddles’ Peak Ski jacket in all these photos which was kindly sent for us to try out. We have the Salopettes too, and though we haven’t had any snow this year they’ve been invaluable to us on our walks in the biting wind. Their products are such great value compared to some others on the market: we’re converts! Check out their blog for some great family fun ideas. One thing MK is lacking is more of a food scene. We’re crying out for some decent eateries round this way: most restaurants here are mediocre chains (HI Cafe Rouge, Zizzi etc). We have recently been gifted with a Byron (HOORAH) and Carluccios’ lunch menu is always quite solid but it is a massive pain having to trek into London each time you want a proper feed. One of the most important factors in my enjoyment of life here I guess are the friends we’ve made. Elfie’s pre-school (and first school-to-be) is absolutely lovely and through that (and Twitter!) I’ve stumbled upon local friendships that I’m sure are for life. Five years ago I might not have thought twice about living in Milton Keynes but I can’t imagine myself living anywhere else five years from now. Want to join my fan club?
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