7 ways to make the most of Autumn

The first of September is technically the start of autumn in Denmark. We have been feeling a little chill in the air in the mornings and the days are rapidly getting shorter but we still have a bit of warmth during the day. In Denmark this time is referred to as sensommer, a mini season between seasons. Autumn (as long as it isn’t rainy) is my favourite season but living in Scandinavia means that you have to make some practical changes as the seasons move towards winter.

1 Daylight lamp

I have raved before about the virtues of a daylight lamp, especially when waking in the morning. As I get up at 6am it is currently just getting light then and as the weeks move on I will be waking when it feels like night time. The daylight lamp is essential for me to get a good start to the day.

2 Swapping over duvets

In England we had one weight of duvet all year round (and we still used a double one!) But since living here we have a winter weight and summer weight duvets. I have started to feel the chill at night so in the next few weeks the current duvets will be washed and stored. The heavy ones will come out for the rest of the winter, plus a blanket as the season progresses, as I like to be very toasty warm.

3 Getting your hygge on

Although hygge is an all year round thing, autumn and winter is where it comes into its own as we need the hygge to get through the dark months. For me this means bringing out the soft cosy blankets for our sofas and also changing the cushion covers to softer fabric ones and in more autumny colours. And of course the candles!

4 Relaxing time

I love to craft and create things but summer evenings just don’t have the same atmosphere for this. Once the autumn comes I usually get some knitting out to do whilst watching TV and my craft box sees a lot more action over the darker months. Whilst I do spend plenty of time online, it is very important to me to do things off-line that encourage more creative thought and relaxation. It is also a time to learn new skills (don’t forget to check out the brush lettering classes I am hosting this month – there are a few places left)

This year I have been reading a lot more books as books rather than on my Kindle and this makes me feel I get a lot more engrossed in the book. As you may recall I get most of my books from the public library.

5 Strictly Come Dancing

This quite a British thing but the start of this fabulous dance competition on the BBC marks the start of the autumn and the count down to Christmas. I first watched this when I was breastfeeding my son in the early hours of the morning nine years ago and after that I didn’t really get into it. About four years ago my mum came to visit and she asked to watch it whilst she was staying with us, after that we are now hooked every year. I know it is cheesy etc but in a world with a constant news cycle of doom and gloom a little sparkle and a programme which is non confrontational and just pure fun is what we need (as long as you avoid the poisonous tabloid press).

6 Autumn leaves and apples

The autumn is a time when nature really puts on a show and there are loads of great places in the city where you can see the beauty of autumn from Frederiksberg Have to any of the cemeteries in the city. Nothing beats a crisp day and a walk around a park in the autumn. Local Danish apples are popping up in big boxes in the supermarkets especially Irma and a juicy autumn apple is a wonderful thing to snack on or to make into a warming crumble.

7 Tivoli at Halloween

Although we are a good few weeks away from this, I am already excited about the Halloween season in Tivoli, I think this is the best time to visit the park (and I will probably be making a YouTube video all about it.

So for me the autumn is a time for getting my hygge on and like a squirrel preparing for the long, dark months ahead.

 

 

Visit to the DAC and Blox {video}

In this video I take a walk around Blox and the Danish Architecture Centre (DAC) in central Copenhagen. I was delighted to be joined by Rikke Brams from the DAC, who tells us a lot more about the new building and the DAC.

Updated guide to having a baby in Denmark

My updated popular guide to having a baby in Denmark and it is  available in my online shop as an interactive ebook.

Having a baby is one of the most exciting and scary things we do in life and that is when we are in our own countries. Having a baby in a new country can be even more daunting as you are navigating a different languages, process and culture. This was one of the reasons I decided to write a ebook guide to having a baby in Denmark (and it covers the first year too).
For many expat parents to be in Denmark this may be your first baby and you need a lot of help, advice and support in the journey through pregnancy and into that first year. Equally you may have other children but had them in your home country or somewhere else completely.

Almost nine years ago I had my son Frederiksberg Hospital. He was one of the last babies born there before they closed the maternity unit. As he was my first child I had no idea about anything really, not having been a particularly  maternal young woman and being one of the last of my friends to have a baby. I muddled through in some parts of my pregnancy and in others I was led by the medical team around me and the rest of advice from books, the internet and friends and family. I enjoyed my pregnancy and despite a difficult birth, my experience in the hospital here was also excellent. I found the first year a little tough but then who doesn’t?

Things have moved on a lot from those days all those years ago, both in the consumer landscape of Denmark to the services that are offered to pregnant women and young families. In some ways this makes things a lot easier but in others there is more information to find and to know where to look.

In preparation for this guide I thought about all the things I learned when I was pregnant and a new mum but I also had a great focus group of expat mums and mums to be who really helped me out, both endorsing the information I was including but also sharing with me the things they had found tough or information they had wished they’d had. So a big thank you to those women.

If you are expecting a child here in Denmark or have just had a baby then this guide will be an enormous help to you, I wish I’d had something similar myself all those years ago. If you would like to get hold of the guide you can visit my secure shop here.

 

How using the public library system saves me 4000 Kroner a month

I have always been a fan of libraries from my first experience of the mobile library which stopped at the end of my road in a little village in Kent to the smell of old books in a university library. I experienced libraries in a very different way when my son was little and we hung out in the fabulous children’s sections in Copenhagen libraries. But to me they are certainly more than books. Earlier in the summer there was a very controversial op-ed about libraries (now deleted) which rightfully got the library community raging.Over the last year whilst my son’s school has been located in a building an hour’s journey from my home I have started to use the library even more as a place to work on my laptop using the free wifi and the quiet but cosy environment. I get almost all my books I read from the library and apart from some very new releases, I have been able to find all of them , in English, in the central library catalogue.

It got me thinking about how much in the average month using the library saves me so I thought I’d share it here and may, if you are not a regular library user this may make you use them more.

I used to have a membership for a co working space and then changed it to a pay as you go use. It would be around 150dkk each time to use the space and wifi for the morning to early afternoon. I used the library for this now so I save 1800dkk per month. I can also use the printer at an affordable rate if I wish to.

I love to read and I used to spend a fortune on novels for my Kindle. As I have started getting these books from the library I am saving around 600dkk per month by borrowing instead of buying. It also means I can try books out without the pressure of having to like them as I spent money.

I bought a basic loom from Tiger ages ago and decided to give it a go over the holidays. I needed a bit of inspiration so looked the recommended books on Amazon and then got them from the library. Immediately I looked through them I decided this hobby wasn’t for me. So saved myself another 600dkk on books I don’t need.

My son saw a book in the bookshop of a museum he wanted to look at about Danish architecture. 400dkk was an eye watering amount for a book he would probably only read once but it was sitting there on the shelf of the main library so we booked it out. He had a happy couple of hours looking at it and he know where it is if he ever wants to borrow it again.

I love magazines especially interiors ones but at around 40dkk each it can amount up but I can spend my lunch time in the library reading the latest issues (you can’t borrow them in the issue month) so another 240dkk saved.

I had a meeting with a client and instead of booking a meeting room somewhere or spending a lot of money on coffees etc in a coffee shop whilst not overstaying our welcome I had it in a central library thus saving at least 150dkk.

So a sum total of 3,760dkk was saved. Now in many cases I was able to access things that I would make a choice about spending money on. I can’t afford to buy all those books every month so I would probably only by one and thus read less. Same with the magazines, I would make a choice of which one or two to buy. The book for my son would have been a no and he would have missed out.

Apart from the work aspect of using the library I think all the other ways I use the library and save money would be relevant to most people. Add in that there is access to the library after hours too you don’t need to be confined to using it at time difficult for you.

The final thing I love about the library I use in Folehaven is the wonderfully friendly staff who work there and the little community of other regular users like myself.

Want to see more about how the library system works here? I have two videos (Part one and part two) to give you a great introduction.

Come and see me on 29th August

I am delighted to be giving a short presentation about the A to Z of Danish Bureaucracy (based on my ebook so if you can’t make the events you can buy the ebook) at a New to Denmark Presentation in Frederiksberg. The event is hosted by Welcome Group Consulting and below is more information from their website about the event. I hope to see some of you there!

Our “New To Denmark Presentation – A Newcomers Guide” will be hosted by Welcome Group Consulting in partnership with Café Cadeau.

The presentation is in English, and will be held on Wednesday 15th August and a second, repeat presentation held on Wednesday 29th August from 16.30 to 18.00 at Cafe Cadeau, Frederiksberg, H. C. Ørsteds Vej 28, 1879 Frederiksberg C, (close to Forum metro station and Vesterport S-tog station).

Moving abroad is always a serious decision to make. It is exciting, life-changing, inspiring, but also difficult and stressful.

It is always the first year after arrival that is the hardest. You have nobody to turn to with your issues and questions and face countless problems due to not speaking the language, from trivialities like paying a bill to complicated situations like misunderstanding – or simply not understanding a rule.

 

Our ‘New To Denmark Presentation – A Newcomers Guide’ will cover everything you need to know, to get you off to a great start and will cover:

  • Welcome to Denmark and Introduction to the Danes
  • Reality Vs Expectations
  • How to find permanent accommodation and how to avoid scams
  • Bureaucracy an A-Z guide of the things you really need
  • Explain the basic principles of the Danish tax system
  • Recruitment and how to find an English speaking position

We will close the event with a Q&A session, where you can ask any remaining questions on the topics above.

Time to take control of your new life abroad!

Entrance is free.

All the information about the event can be found here with a link to reserve a spot.

Copenhagen Main Station – Tickets, toilets and more {YouTube video}

In this video I show you how the ticket machines work at the main station as well as showing you around the main parts of the station – ticket machines and offices, toilets, shops, police station, left luggage and more…

Brush Lettering for beginners – book now!

I am organising two brush lettering for beginners workshops on the 19th September (one in the morning and one in the evening).

Lucy Blair is an experienced calligrapher based in the UK and she will be coming over to teach two identical workshops  where participants will learn brush lettering for beginners. You can read more about Lucy here.

This is the third time Lucy has been here to teach the class and they have been sell out events before. Here’s what one of the participants said:-

The workshop was well structured and a great way to try out a new craft, learning all the basics to get you started!

The class will cover the following:

  • An introduction to brush lettering including beginner skills of up and down strokes.
  • Participants will learn to create a words, layout, how to develop their own style and decorations and embellishments.
  • You will also receive a pack to take home including an instruction sheet, a small sketch pad and a Pentel Aquash brush pen.

The class will be taught over three hours in Nordhavn and costs 350dkk plus a small booking fee. The cost covers teaching time, equipment you will use during the class and the take home pack, light refreshments and plenty of hygge!This is a unique chance to learn this skill here in the city from an English speaking teacher. You will go away able to create beautiful brush calligraphy and have the skills to start to develop your own style.

The class will be taught in English, is open to adults and no experience is necessary. This is something I know a lot of people are interested in so take the chance now and book your tickets via the links below and I look forward to seeing you there!

Morning event

Evening event