Snow day from the Round Tower

We had proper snow in Copenhagen last week for the first time in years. I decided to enjoy the view from the top of the Round Tower and was lucky enough to have it myself for a while. I was also delighted that the Observatory was open too.img_7616 img_7617 img_7621 img_7623 img_7624 img_7627 img_7629 img_7634

It’s the winter break so I’ll be back next week – enjoy the week if you are off work and school.

Amazing design show at the Round Tower (but be quick)

There is an amazing exhibition on at the Round Tower until Saturday 11 February showing the final work of design students from Tekstilformidlere. Such beautiful and thought-provoking design. As its only on for the next few days you will need to be quick or simply enjoy the photos below.img_7654 img_7649 img_7650 img_7652 img_7646 img_7648 img_7640 img_7643 img_7644 img_7645 img_7639

Moroccan hygge at South Harbour Cafe in Sydhavn

For some months we have been walking past a potential new cafe in Sydhavn, close to the station (come out of the station and walk towards the big crossroads). The type of place it was going to be was shrouded in window covers with not even a little gap for nosey people like me to peer into. One day I saw a man unlocking the door and although I picked up the pace to see what was inside the door was already closed by the time I got there. So on Monday morning as we walked out of the station in the early morning dark, there it was open with a man handing out delicious samples of tiny croissants. At last!img_7565

After dropping my son at school, I headed back to try out South Harbour Cafe. I have been saying for the last year and a half that we need a coffee shop here but I had no idea my wishes would be answered by something so amazing.

The cafe is owned by a local woman, Jamila, whose family are originally from Morocco, so much of the food and drink in here is inspired by that. They serve the most amazing fresh mint Moroccan tea, there is a soup of the day (only 39dkk), traditional pancakes (savoury and sweet), couscous salad and some outstanding savoury pastries called pastilla (I think) filled with meat flavoured with delicate spices. Of course there is the usual coffee menu, juices and bread rolls with cheese. All very affordable.img_7564

But what about the hygge factor? Well it is there in spades with a couple of hyggekrog, candles, and board games (my son and I sat for about an hour with our tea and a chess board, with two twenty-something girls next to us playing backgammon and then crocheting).img_7556

It is also the attention to detail I love. Jamila’s husband fitted the place out and it is just lovely. On a practical point of view they made sure there were plenty of plug sockets for laptop users and hooks under the high tables for coats and bags. The local history society helped them out with old photos of the place when it was a bakery and other wonderful shots of trams on the streets nearby. You must check out the table tops near the front door and the inspiration quotes in the bathroom.img_7582

I have been in here every day since it opened and I can see it become a regular place for me to work, read or hang out with my son. The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly and it has been busy with a real mix of local people so far. If you are in this area you must pop in, in fact I recommend you make a trip here regardless and enjoy some Moroccan hygge!img_7580 img_7587

Follow them on Facebook and visit at Hørdumsgade 1, 2450 Copenhagen.

Experimentarium reopens in Hellerup

The Danish hand-on science museum known as Experimentarium reopened at its old site in Hellerup (close to the Waterfront Shopping) at the end of January. Since it opened we have been four times, it’s that good. We bought a season pass and now have visited enough times to make the remainder of the year free.img_7489-1

I wrote about the place with a lot of detail here on The Local.

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But I thought I’d share some of our highlights and advice from visiting. So highlights – the new ball run that allows you to choose different ways to send cargo and it great fun. A bit hard to describe but believe me its is great. The ship area with room where you can experience wind up to almost hurricane strength. The newly expanded water area is fun too. On the second floor there is the construction zone and bubble area, perfect for younger visitors. img_7500

If you are familiar with Experimentarium at this site from three years ago, many of the old favourites are here, some with expanded experiences. There are also new exhibitions which will keep everyone interested for hours.

Now for the advice. It gets very hot in the building so make sure your children can strip down to a t-shirt or even a vest. This is also valuable when playing in the water areas so their sleeves don’t get soaked.

The season pass is well worth considering as it is very good value and it means that you can pop in to the place for a short time without feeling you have to justify the ticket price.img_7496

There is a late night on a Thursday until 8pm and we enjoyed this as it was relatively empty and we could go from one thing to another without waiting. Weekends get very busy however with a season pass to can get in an hour early on weekend days.

The food is expensive and decidedly average plus on Saturday lunch time there was an hour wait for hot food. There is a section of the cafe that it dedicated to packed lunches so this is definitely worth considering. There are also a number of places to eat just next door in Waterfront Shopping and I believe you can get your hand stamped so you can come back in. Make sure you do this or at least check your ticket allows you to come back in afterwards.

I think this place is the perfect location for a great day out for children of all ages.

Visit their website for up to date information

Want to play rugby here in Copenhagen?

Gentofte Rugby Club was formed a year ago by some expat rugby enthusiasts who missed the chance to play their favourite game. It is gaining popularity but as Denmark isn’t really a rugby nation they are hoping to introduce the game to more players. screen-shot-2017-01-31-at-20-55-40

Gentofte Rugby Klub (GRK) was set up because they LOVE rugby. The Gentofte Kommune had no pre existing rugby club for children. With the support of the local kommune and the Danish Rugby Union (DRU) they founded the newest rugby club in Denmark.

The club offers rugby to all ages from 6 and is looking for more players and also coaches, particularly in the older kids sections and adults.

If you are looking to get back into rugby or wanted to get your kids involved, check out their website for more details.

Daily Bread

One thing that many expats get exasperated about is the lack of decent sliced pre packed bread here (and in France too where the option is very sweet American style bread). One of the reasons is that Danes enjoy fresh bread from the bakery, whether it is a loaf, rugbrød or rolls (rundstykke). You can get your rundstykke spread with butter there and then in the bakery.img_7457

When I was growing up we referred to bakery bread as ‘nice bread’ and as we didn’t have a village bakery and the few loaves delivered to the grocers soon went, it was something we had as a treat. I still do call it ‘nice bread’ and I noticed my friend did the same when I was visiting her a few weeks ago. Why is it we Brits are prepared to put up with the opposite of ‘nice bread’ (so nasty bread?) as our regular carb fix?

I love the European culture of local bakeries – independent and chains – that sell a selection of freshly baked goods everyday. The stereotype of a Frenchman walking with a baguette and nibbling the top isn’t there for nothing. These breads don’t last more than one day in terms of freshness but then again there isn’t normally a lot left.

Danes use sliced bread for toasted sandwiches and that is about it. We buy the best of the selection called Roast n’ Toast, but I have only seen it in a few Føtex supermarkets, but if you want to make a decent bacon sarnie this is the bread for you, especially if you can get hold of English style back bacon.

So where do I think you can get the best ‘nice bread’ in Copenhagen? I am a fan of Andersens (especially their Tiger rolls which I usually pick up for my lunch if I am at home) and also Lagkagehuset but any place you happen to walk past will certainly offer something better than the cardboard sliced bread in the supermarket.

NB for readers in the UK you can try the delicious breads and pastries from Lagkagehuset yourselves if you happen to be close to Piccadilly Circus in London as they have opened their first bakery outside Denmark there but branded as Ole & Steen. Check out their Facebook page

Feeling unsettled in temporary housing

I was reminded of the chapter in my book about living in temporary accommodation as I realised that I had not followed all my own advice. We have been living in a temporary apartment since the beginning of December and will probably be here until March. It is a lovely apartment and we are very lucky to be able to stay here whilst the owners are in Asia backpacking. However it takes time to find your groove in someone else’s home. Simple routine things such as where you leave your handbag and keys when you come in, without your usual spot, means that brain power is needed to remember in the morning as you rush out the door. Usually routine activities don’t use a lot of brain power but living in a strange place they do.img_7418We also have to use the communal tumble dryer, which has been a great way to meet people, but also adds an element of extra planning to the day especially as the washing machine in the apartment uses the shower water taps so needs to be put on by the last person out and if forgotten adds even more rush to the day.

Also finding that you didn’t bring all the things you actually needed. We tried not to bring too much stuff here but there were little things we forgot as we didn’t really think too far ahead. I travelled to the UK last weekend and we have another trip planned in the school break but I forgot to pack our adapter plugs. I hate to use the world’s resources to buy things I already own so I was lucky that a Facebook appeal to the parents in my son’s class meant I had some to borrow. I also didn’t think that I would need any smart ‘work’ clothes in the few months we are here and a work trip plus a variety of meetings coming up means that was a mistake and a trip to H&M and wearing the same smart outfit – perhaps it will become my signature look.

But we do have most of my crafting supplies, Christmas decorations, winter boots (but no smart shoes), a ton of Lego and my one cup cafetière and milk frother. All useful but not essentials things.

Whilst my husband is more situational, both my son and I are ready to resume normal life as neither of us enjoys too much change, and by that we mean one with all the Lego, more than three cookbooks, a wider selection than just a very basic wardrobe, pretty books like this and this and cheese knives! I am certainly not a minimalist!

On a serious note, whilst all these things seem a little trivial and we are in a familiar place so there is a lot less stress living in a temporary place in a new city, it is obvious to see how living in a transitional home whilst house hunting in a new city can be stressful. Yes, you have all the things you need but not your own.

There was a great piece of advice in my book from another Brit who moved here last year and spent some months in an AirBNB whilst they searched for permanent home.

Make sure you take a few small boxes of things that make you feel like this new home is your home. Not just the clothes and the essentials, but a couple of items which connect your present to your past, and make you feel like you’re not standing still in somebody else’s house. My husband and I packed our adored bed linen, a few choice books, and the hearty casserole dish we use every Sunday which was a wedding present. When everything is overwhelming, foreign and confusing, it can make a world of difference to slip into your own sheets at the end of the day.

Scientists often talk about two types of thinking. There is the type in which we very actively think and this uses up a ton of energy and then there is the automatic thinking we do, which is about 90 percent of all our thinking, and take very little energy. Usually activities such as food shopping, driving and repetitious everyday activities fall into the latter category. But when we move to a new place, everyday things can start to fall into active thinking and drain our energy reserves. Which explains how stressful life can become when you move to a new place full of the unknown.

Kreakassen – craft boxes for children

For those of you with crafty kids living in Denmark, then you will be, undoubtedly, interested in a relatively new concept here called Kreakassen.

Kreakassen is a monthly supply of  four creative projects a box including instructions and simple materials. The projects in the box are related to the season or time of the year. This means that Kreakassen has adapted the seasons and festivals and offers creative projects for those times that you and your child would like to do. Kreakassen delivers it all: the ideas, materials (although it does not contain every day crafting materials such as pens, pencils, scissors, glue and brushes – they do see boxes of these too) and instructions so that you can bypass the laborious preparations and jump directly to creating.dsc01814We were sent a box to try out (a Halloween themed one) and my son loved it. All children are different but Kreakassen is aimed at 4 – 8 years olds, although older children may enjoy the projects and younger ones with more help from an adult. There are four projects in the box – a couple longer projects and the rest quicker ones. All the instructions are pictorial and in Danish but pretty easy to grasp.dsc01824

You can take out a subscription or buy a box on a monthly basis. Their website (www.kreakassen.dk) has all the details. If they are oversubscribed you can add your name to a waiting list. The website is currently only in Danish but run it through Google Chrome and its all there.dsc01817 dsc01810 dsc01814

The Danish love of the chaise longue sofas

I have noticed in many of the Danish homes I visit or stay in how there is a love for a sofa with a chaise longue section. When staying in a Danish home (as we are currently whilst waiting for our house to be ready) as soon as I spy this spot I commandeer it as my own. I gather the best cushions and add my cosy blankets and make myself a really hyggeligt corner – a hygge krog if you will. My legs are stretched out, my back comfortably propped up and I am facing the room (and TV when it is on). living-room-1

I am assuming this choice of sofa also has its practical merits from the high hygge quotient  and also the versatile nature of the extra bit of sofa when you have extra people to seat without needing another sofa (great when space is at a premium). We don’t currently need a new sofa unless I do a lot of convincing but when we do I see one such as these beauties with a couple of comfy chairs for the overspill of guests.

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If you too like these kinds of sofas they can be spotted in Ikea (of course), BoConcept (any sofa a Mikkelsen brother has sat on is good for me as long as he comes with it), and IDEMobler

Postscript: Today marks the two year anniversary of my cycle accident, I am still not fixed and it causes me some angst so today I thought I’d think about sofas, hygge and Mads Mikkelsen instead!

 

Tons of free resources

Over the last four years of writing this blog (I had to work that out and it shocked me) I have written a number of useful practical guides to life here so I thought that I would gather them all together as downloadable PDFs over on my Dejlige Days Welcome website. I will be writing some longer guides to aspects of life here which I will be selling but it is important to me the still offer a lot for free. I will be adding to the free guides in the same way – the information will appear here on my blog first and then be available as a free download. So please do pop over and download any that seem useful to you. I would also really appreciate it if you could add a comment here telling me of any other guides that may be useful to you.

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